November 25, 2008

Web Reconnaissance for 11/25/2008

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)
Hamdan To Be Sent To Yemen - The U.S. military has decided to transfer Osama bin Laden's former driver from custody at Guantanamo Bay to his home in Yemen, ending the seven-year saga of a man the Bush administration considered a dangerous terrorist but whom a military jury found to be a low-level aide. (READ MORE)

Familiar Trio at Heart of Citi Bailout - The bailout of Citigroup, which put the government at risk of hundreds of billions of dollars of losses, was set in motion by three men whose professional lives have long been intertwined. (READ MORE)

Appeals Court Hears Uighur Detainees' Case - A Justice Department lawyer urged an appeals court yesterday to overturn a judge's decision to release a group of Chinese Muslims at the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay into the United States. (READ MORE)

Venezuelan Opposition Energized by Election Wins - CARACAS, Venezuela, Nov. 24 -- Venezuela's opposition has been energized by Sunday's regional elections, in which its candidates won five states and important urban centers in the country's most economically vital and populous regions. (READ MORE)

Former German Terrorist To Go Free After 26 Years - BERLIN, Nov. 24 -- A German court on Monday ordered the release of a former leader of the Red Army Faction, the Marxist group that terrorized West German industrialists, bankers and politicians, as well as U.S. military officials, in the 1970s and 1980s. (READ MORE)

Obama team crafts ways to 'jolt' economy - President-elect Barack Obama's campaign promise to cut spending has been waylaid by the reality of the economy, and he warned Monday that the deficit is going to grow and spending cuts will have to take a back seat now to stimulating the economy. (READ MORE)

More bailouts expected before Bush leaves office - The Bush administration expects to bail out more big banks like Citigroup before leaving office, and is considering asking Congress for the remaining $350 billion of Treasury bank-rescue funds to make sure it has money to do so. (READ MORE)

Big Three eye caravan for return to Hill - Things are getting so tough in Detroit that General Motors Corp. announced that it has ended its contract with Tiger Woods, and the CEOs of the Big Three automakers were reportedly considering a car caravan for their return to Capitol Hill in bailout negotiations. (READ MORE)

U.S stocks may continue rally - U.S. stock markets appeared headed for a higher opening today on the heels of increases in both the Asian and European markets following the biggest two-day U.S. percentage gain in 21 years. (READ MORE)

Waxman vital link for Obama agenda - In the first year or two of President-elect Barack Obama's term, he will work hand in glove with Rep. Henry Waxman to devise a plan limiting carbon emissions that will impact every corner of the economy and U.S. industry. (READ MORE)

Charity charged in aiding Hamas - A Muslim charity and five of its former leaders were convicted Monday of funneling millions of dollars to the Palestinian militant group Hamas, finally handing the government a signature victory in its fight against terrorism funding. (READ MORE)

On the Web:
Wesley Pruden: A late education on a steep curve - Even a messiah feels the sting of a chill wind in his face, especially when it blows off Wall Street with a hint of ice and snow coming down from Detroit. There's the sound of distant guns far away to the east. That low growl in the west is the mutter of the money-changers, warning that maybe giving the "rich" a good soak might not be such a good idea, at least not now. And if all that were not enough, there's Hillary (and Bubba, too), hovering over his shoulder, lending points of fright. Those suppressed chuckles in the background may be coming from an upstairs bedroom at the White House. Everything looked so simple, so easy, so inevitable, on a cold winter's day in New Hampshire. The war in Iraq would be solved quickly, maybe even before the first weekend, with a strategy of cut and run. (READ MORE)

Thomas Sowell: "Jolting" the Economy - Barack Obama says that we have to "jolt" the economy. That certainly makes sense, if you take the media's account of the economy seriously-- but should the media be taken seriously? Amid all the political and media hysteria, national output has declined by less than one-half of one percent. In fact, it may not have declined even that much-- or at all-- when the statistics are revised later, as they very often are. We are not talking about the Great Depression, when output dropped by one-third and unemployment soared to 25 percent. What we are talking about is a golden political opportunity for politicians to use the current financial crisis to fundamentally change an economy that has been successful for more than two centuries, so that politicians can henceforth micro-manage all sorts of businesses and play Robin Hood, taking from those who are not likely to vote for them and transferring part of their earnings to those who will vote for them. (READ MORE)

David Limbaugh: Bipartisanship: For the Common Good? - Many say that now that Barack Obama has been elected, we should all work together for the common good. That sounds wonderful until you realize that we don't all agree on what is the common good. Notice I don't take the position that Republicans should refuse to cooperate with Mr. Obama because Democrats have been indescribably partisan, cruel and unfair to President Bush for the past eight years. Those are certainly grounds to call them hypocrites, but we must always put the best interests of the nation above petty partisanship -- obviously. So we must ask: Would it be in the best interest of the nation for Republicans to work with Barack Obama? The only sensible answer is: It depends on what policies Obama pursues. As much as people want to believe that getting along is the highest good, there are many more important things. If Democrats were being honest, they would agree with that statement. (READ MORE)

Mona Charen: Giving Thanks for Genocide? - Thanksgiving is coming -- a time to participate in the great American tradition of maligning and abusing our ancestors. Last year, Seattle public school administrators warned teachers that "Thanksgiving can be a particularly difficult time for many of our Native students." Accordingly, teachers were advised to consult a list of 11 Thanksgiving "myths." No. 11 read as follows: "Myth: Thanksgiving is a happy time. Fact: For many Indian people, 'Thanksgiving' is a time of mourning, of remembering how a gift of generosity was rewarded by theft of land and seed corn, extermination of many from disease and gun, and near total destruction of many more from forced assimilation. As currently celebrated in this country, 'Thanksgiving' is a bitter reminder of 500 years of betrayal returned for friendship." In his new book, The 10 Big Lies About America film critic and radio talk show host Michael Medved recalls the Seattle episode: (READ MORE)

Dennis Prager: Why Reporters -- and Judges and Professors -- Are Biased - That the news media were biased in the 2008 presidential election is now acknowledged by fair-minded people, left or right As Time Magazine’s Mark Halperin said this weekend at a Politico/USC Conference on the 2008 election: “It's the most disgusting failure of people in our business. … It was extreme bias, extreme pro-Obama coverage." Given how obvious this bias is, the question is not whether liberals in the media tend to offer biased reporting. The question is why? Why can’t liberal news people report the news without any slant? The answer is that for people on the left, all -- I repeat, (set ital) all (end ital) -- professions are a means to an end, not ends in themselves. That end is the social transformation of society, meaning the promoting of “social justice” as the left understands that term. For most liberal news reporters, therefore, the purpose of news reporting is not to report news as objectively as possible. (READ MORE)

Phyllis Schlafly: Time to Follow Reagan's Example - Conservatives face a major political challenge, but they can tackle and overcome it as they have done three times before. Three prior examples demonstrate the right way and the wrong ways to put America back on track and bounce back from a disappointing election. In 1964, Lyndon Johnson won in a landslide over Barry Goldwater; in 1976, Jimmy Carter defeated Gerald Ford in a close election; and in 1992, Bill Clinton crushed the first George Bush. Those defeats and subsequent Republican recoveries contain lessons to be learned. After 1964, conservatives were persuaded to support the moderate candidate who had cozied up to the Rockefeller establishment, Richard Nixon, instead of Ronald Reagan, who was also available. In preferring Nixon and electing him in 1968, conservatives mistakenly overemphasized experience. The 2008 election showed that popular culture and voter mobilization are far more powerful than public appreciation for experience. (READ MORE)

Amanda Carpenter: Preview of Anti-Obama Documentary Outrages Left - John Ziegler didn’t know the kind of fury the left would unleash on him when he unveiled his web video “How Obama Got Elected.” The ten-minute short featured 12 interviews he conducted with Obama supporters at Los Angeles polling stations on Election Day and the final product wasn’t flattering to liberals. His subjects couldn’t answer basic questions like “Who controls Congress” and “Who is Nancy Pelosi” or “Who is Harry Reid.” They could, however, correctly answer questions about GOP vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin’s pregnant daughter and wardrobe budget without any problem. The web video spread like wildfire around the internet, getting more than 1.4 million views. Ziegler plans to include the interviews in a forthcoming film titled “Media Malpractice…How Obama Got Elected.” As a result Ziegler’s email inbox has been flooded with profanity-laced emails accusing him of racism, bigotry and hate mongering. (READ MORE)

Cal Thomas: Mission Accomplished II - Nineteen months after Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid declared the war in Iraq "lost" and just nine months after Speaker Nancy Pelosi asserted the war has been a "failure" because it had not brought political change leading to reconciliation, it can now be said conclusively that both were wrong. One of the great military reversals in history is close to achieving victory. That is contributing to stability in Iraq, along with reconciliation between warring factions. These conclusions are contained in a report compiled by retired General Barry R. McCaffrey after a recent visit to Iraq during which he consulted with Iraqi and American military leaders and diplomats. McCaffrey, now an adjunct professor of International Affairs at the United States Military Academy at West Point, wrote a memorandum for his academic colleagues. It concludes, "The United States is now clearly in the end game in Iraq to successfully achieve what should be our principle objectives: (READ MORE)

Lawrence Kudlow: Obama's Pro-Growth Economic Team? - When President-elect Obama had a chance to squash the tax-hike threat once and for all at his news conference Monday, he took a pass and let the question linger for another day. But his new economic cabinet appointments strongly suggest there will be no tax hikes next year. Stocks, for one, like what they’re seeing from Obama’s latest cabinet selections. On Friday, Obama announced Tim Geithner will be his Treasury man, and on Monday he made Larry Summers his White House economics tsar and named Christine Romer to the top spot in the Council of Economic Advisers (CEA). Stocks rallied 900 points across this stretch. That’s not the end of the stock story. Markets also like the new super-TARP government plan to bailout Citigroup, which effectively guarantees the banking system with a massive insurance-like policy. But markets may also sense a little pro-growth good news in the Obama policy mix. (READ MORE)

Chuck Norris: Thanksgiving - A Violation of Church and State? - Is the government's observance of Thanksgiving a violation of the separation of church and state? This past week, a Newsweek/Washington Post editorial labeled presidential Thanksgiving Day proclamations as "cracks in the wall of separation." The author explained, "The problem with these proclamations, it seems to me, is that they pave the way for public acceptance of gross violations of the constitutional separation of church and state." What?! Forget for a moment that nearly every president since George Washington (and the Continental Congress before him) has given Judeo-Christian proclamations for Thanksgiving (except between 1816 and 1861) and also has declared other national days of fasting and prayer. Secularists, such as the author of the editorial, get almost giddy every time they highlight that Thomas Jefferson rejected the notion of proclaiming Thanksgiving spirituals and prayers. (READ MORE)

A Newt One: UN Renews Censorship Demand - I am informed by a press release from UN Watch that the General Assembly adopted the Defamation of Religions Resolution by a vote of 85:50 with 42 abstentions. At the time of this writing, the link to the resolution does not work. The link provided in my previous post on this subject also fails. UN Watch counts as a gain the shift of 23 votes from support to abstention compared to last year's vote. Big deal. I would consider it a gain if they had voted against the resolution. Abstention displays a lack of conviction and courage, two characteristics vital to the survival of western civilization. Without courage and conviction, our cause is lost and the lamp of liberty will be extinguished. My most recent post on this subject, Stop Sharia!!!, includes links to previous posts related to this subject and extensive quotes from relevant Islamic law. The following statement from the resolution was pointed out in the UN Watch press release: “Also expresses its deep concern that Islam is frequently and wrongly associated with human rights violations and terrorism;” (READ MORE)

Lawhawk: Another Day, Another Rangel Tax Revelation - Thanks Harlem, New York voters for voting Charles Rangel (D) back into office without bothering to note the swirling criminality surrounding him. You've managed to reelect a tax cheat who's been shorting the government (take your pick of New York City, New York State, District of Columbia, and the federal government) for years on end, and yet doesn't think that this diminishes his capacity to head the very committee charged with writing tax laws for the country. In fact, his fellow Congressmen don't seem to think anything is wrong with this situation either. Neither does the Democratic party leadership, which is going along with this mess, despite admissions by Rangel that he's shorted New York and the IRS on rental income from his Punta Cana villa. So, following revelations over the weekend that Rangel may not even be eligible to be your Congressman by claiming a homestead tax benefit in the District of Columbia for years, which is available only to residents of the District and would put Rangel's rent stabilized apartments in New York City in jeopardy, the New York Times takes note and offers up a concise history of Rangel's current mess: (READ MORE)

Donald Douglas: The Secret Theory of Progressivism? - The most interesting, and frankly heartening, political development lately is Barack Obama's tilt to "pragmatism" following the election, which is actually secret code (entirely for political consumption) for "I'm abandoning all the ideologically left-wing policies I championed during the Democratic primaries for immediate political expedience." This turn, of course, has sent the radical netroots hordes into fits of apoplexy. From Jane Hamsher to Markos Moulitsas to Andrew Sullivan, the smear merchants of the left are pledging "accountability," no matter which party controls the White House. Famous last words. If you parse the discourse emerging this week, there's a tremendous effort on the left to smack down any conservative rationalism in discussing effective policy options going forward, especially on the economy. whole pushback over the Roosevelt administration's response to the Great Depression is a quick eye-opener, for example. (READ MORE)

Victor Davis Hanson: Is it 2008 — or 1984? - We should all let President-elect Obama have some honeymoon time, but that said, so far the sudden cessation in 'hope and change' that became part of the American mindset for two years is surreal, and one of the most remarkable developments in recent American political history. Obama's Clintonite appointments, his reliance on those well-known DC fixtures credentialed by Ivy League Law Schools, and his apparent backtracking on radical tax hikes on the "wealthy", instantaneous shut-down of Gitmo, prompt withdrawal from Iraq, and repeal of anti-terror legislation seem to have delighted conservatives, relieved that the Daily Kos and Huffington Post are not calling the shots. But two minor points, it is still November, not late January. So no one knows anything yet and we should suspend judgement, despite the FDR and Lincoln daily comparisons. (READ MORE)

Matthew Levitt: HLF VERDICT: GUILTY ON ALL COUNTS - The message sent by the verdict in this case is clear: the United States will neither allow itself to be used as a cash-cow by terrorist groups raising money here under the guise of legitimate charitable activity nor will it allow such groups to abuse the charitable sector by fraudulently raising funds for purportedly innocent causes and then using those funds to finance terrorism. Prosecutors and investigators deserve a tremendous amount of credit for achieving a significant victory against terrorism and for doing so under difficult circumstances, namely under the strict rules of evidence and with the burden of convincing a jury beyond a reasonable doubt in a public court of law. As Justice Department prosecutor Barry Jonas argued in his closing arguments last week, the Hamas finances a “womb to tomb” support cycle for its followers and potential recruits through Hamas-affiliated charities... (READ MORE)

Andrew Cochran: HLF Guilty Verdict Should Terminate Government & Business Relationships With UICCs - Today, the jury hearing the second Holy Land Foundation terrorism trial delivered guilty verdicts against HLF and all of the individual defendants, a stunning victory for federal prosecutors. This site has been among the leading websites in discussing the ramifications of the case. You can read our archive of posts on HLF and a transcript of our special panel, held last December 11, on the first case. You can download the exhibits in the second trial from the NEFA Foundation website and read special reports on the trial at the IPT website. The verdict also renders judgement on the long list of unindicted co-conspirators (Acrobat file) proposed by the prosecutors and accepted by the judge. They stand "convicted" of their association with the convicted felons in illegal and felonious fundraising for Hamas. (READ MORE)

Crazy Politico: Demanding a Failing Plan - Congress, in it's decree to the (formerly) Big 3, wants sustainable green vehicles as part of the plan that they bring back to DC next month as they beg for more money. The problem is, as pointed out by the Washington Post; in it's green section; is that green vehicles are money losers, and probably will continue to be for the foreseeable future. The story reminds readers that the Toyota Prius, the poster child for how to build a good hybrid, is a money loser for Toyota. The company won't say how much they lose per car, but experts figure thousands of dollars per unit sold. The Chevy Volt, the car that gets environmentalists into a nearly orgasmic state, won't save GM. Instead, it could sink the company based on estimates of $8-10,000 just for the battery pack. (READ MORE)

Confederate Yankee: ENOUGH! - I am not a financial whiz, and have never claimed to be one, but I'm getting sick and tired of footing the bill for those who claim to be financial experts, and who have doomed their companies through mismanagement, poor risk management, and greed. Citigroup—the same group that conspired with ACORN to provide home loans to illegal aliens—becomes the latest parasite to feed from the public jugular. And make no mistake, dear reader; when the newspapers say that "the federal government" is stepping in to bail out these banks, what they actually mean is that self-interested professional politicians in both parties have decided that they will stick you with the bill for Citigroup's greed and bad business decisions. Our money. The stuff we earn through our labor, that we carefully invest in improving our homes, that we save for our retirement, that we scrimp and save for our childrens' college education, is being spent by wealthy and corrupt Congressmen and Senators to cover-up the multi-billion-dollar mistakes of their their wealthy and corrupt campaign contributors. (READ MORE)

The Foxhole: Dems Want to Investigate Bush’s Executive Orders - Really? “When a Congressional committee subpoenaed Harry S. Truman in 1953, nearly a year after he left office, he made a startling claim: Even though he was no longer president, the Constitution still empowered him to block subpoenas. ……Congressional Democrats prepare to move forward with investigations of the Bush administration, they wonder whether that claim may be invoked again.” Why not probe Bill Clinton’s and Jimmy Carter’s Executive Orders and deliberate missteps? All. Of. Them. When you go through the list of Clinton’s pardons, it reads like a who’s who of scumbags. A total of 140 including Hillary’s two brothers, members of the terrorist group FALN, fugitive buddy Marc Rich, and a host of other cronies who were his partners in crime. Bush fired 8 federal attorneys and the Left had apoplexy. Clinton fired 93 federal attorneys and no one on the Left batted a fucking eye: (READ MORE)

Don Surber: Bush pardons - Not one billionaire international fugitive from justice among them. When President Clinton’s pardon of Marc Rich came up, Republicans grumbled but wisely did not make a federal case out of it. The Constitution grants presidents this power for reasons that are obvious. When all other avenues of justice are exhausted, a president can show compassion. And so, Bush pardons — at half the rate of his predecessors. That does not reflect well on him. If over 8 years only 171 people are worthy of pardons and another 8 worthy of commutations, the our justice system suddenly became closer to perfection than I thought. The latest batch of 14 pardons and 2 commuted sentences shows that is not the case. Everybody’s story is different. People make mistakes. They did their crime, they did their time. The quality of mercy is not strained… (READ MORE)

El Inglés: Surrender, Genocide… or What? — An Update - Prelude: The controversy over ‘Surrender, Genocide… or What?’ (hereafter referred to as SGW) was, by and large, fraudulent. It was simply used as ammunition in an ongoing conflict, by certain parties with limited reading comprehension skills and even more limited integrity. Nor is there any obvious reason why it should have been controversial. Given the prevalence of violent conflict of various sorts in human history, it is surely not unreasonable to suggest that any polity, no matter how peaceful or prosperous, is never more than one or two macrohistorical wrong turns away from reacquainting itself with the unpleasantness such conflict results in. Given further the innumerable examples to be found even just in recent history of the extraordinary violence human beings will use to attack and/or separate themselves from others with whom they do not identify... (READ MORE)

GayPatriotWest: Our Critics Silent about Democrats’ Proposed Profligacy - Given how some of our critics responded to my post on how Democrats see government spending as the solution to every domestic problem, it appears their business in life is to attack Republicans. If you didn’t follow current events, you might take their tone to mean their side had lost the most recent national elections. In their zeal to criticize us and the GOP, they neglect to acknowledge how frequently we’ve criticized Bush and Republicans for their spendthrift ways, contending the GOP lost its congressional majorities in 2006 in large part because its leaders failed to contain spending and constrain the growth of the federal government. And now with their proposed stimulus plan, Democrats seem bent on continuing the spending record of the current Democratic Congress and the most recent Republican ones, albeit with greater rates of increase. (READ MORE)

Jules Crittenden: AP Transitions - With war coverage that has rarely been more informative or insightful than a recounting of bomb blasts and death tolls, the Associated Press has a long history of praising the resilience of terrorists in Iraq, and using every explosion as a “grim reminder” to question and disparage the security gains that U.S. military officials “maintained” and “insisted” were taking place in what was routinely refered to as an “unpopular war.” The litany of hopelessness and grudging acknowledgements of success, usually buried, were routine during a key period when Democrats were pushing Bush for withdrawal. There was also a time, more recently, when AP’s boilerplate was happy to credit the Sunni Awakening for the reduction in violence, but only reluctantly admitted that George Bush’s surge strategy had anything to do with it, pinning that on military claims. The AP was never this enthusiastic for U.S. troops to remain in Iraq, and now the message is very clear that premature withdrawal is a bad idea. (READ MORE)

Allahpundit: Quote of the day - “During the battle, the designated marksman single handedly thwarted a company-sized enemy RPG and machinegun ambush by reportedly killing 20 enemy fighters with his devastatingly accurate precision fire. He selflessly exposed himself time and again to intense enemy fire during a critical point in the eight-hour battle for Shewan in order to kill any enemy combatants who attempted to engage or maneuver on the Marines in the kill zone. What made his actions even more impressive was the fact that he didn’t miss any shots, despite the enemies’ rounds impacting within a foot of his fighting position. ‘I was in my own little world,’ the young corporal said. ‘I wasn’t even aware of a lot of the rounds impacting near my position, because I was concentrating so hard on making sure my rounds were on target.’” (READ MORE)

Ed Morrissey: Appellate court upholds warrantless searches abroad - The Second Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the convictions of three terrorists convicted prior to 9/11 of working with al-Qaeda to attack American interests. The three-judge panel ruled that the requirement for warrants and Miranda warnings do not apply to American citizens living abroad, which may surprise privacy advocates. The ruling will almost certainly pique the curiosity of the Supreme Court in this session: “The authorities may lawfully conduct searches and electronic surveillance against United States citizens in foreign countries without a warrant, a federal appeals court panel said on Monday, bolstering the government’s power to investigate terrorism by ruling that a key constitutional protection afforded to Americans does not apply overseas. The unanimous decision by a three-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, in Manhattan, came in the case of three Al Qaeda terrorists convicted a few months before 9/11 in a conspiracy that involved the 1998 bombings of two American embassies in East Africa. …” (READ MORE)

neo-neocon: Gail Collins vies for honor of worst NY Times column ever - There’s a lot of competition for that honor, but this column by Gail Collins just might get top (bottom?) prize. Unwilling to wait the last two months of the end-of-Bush-Presidency countdown, or to let the Constitution take its course, Collins calls for the immediate resignation of President Bush. Apparently she just can’t tolerate another moment of the man, now that the end is in sight. Where does the Times get these people, and why are their thoughts considered fit to print? It’s not as though Collins is a newby, either. On looking up her bio, I discovered that she was the first female editor of the Times‘ editorial page, serving in that capacity from 2001 to 2007. Before and after that she had/has been a columnist. Nor should she be ignorant of the topic on which she speaks; her degree was not only in journalism, but she earned a Master’s in government as well. (READ MORE)

Paul Mirengoff: History makes way for Obama-worship at the New York Times - Obama-worship remains the order of the day at the New York Times, and the Times is more than happy to rewrite history on behalf of the candidate it worked so hard to elect. Consider this piece by David Sanger. Sanger's thesis is that Obama's selections, reported selections, and rumored selections for key posts in his administration indicate that he will govern from the center right of his party. That case certainly can be made, although I've argued that it can easily be over-stated. But Sanger goes on to say: “The choices are as revealing of the new president as they are of his appointees -- and suggest that, from its first days, an Obama White House will brim with big personalities and far more spirited debate than occurred among the largely like-minded advisers who populated President Bush's first term.” (READ MORE)

Dan Riehl: Too Ugly To Watch - Michelle Malkin has a round-up on the Citicorp bailout. She's been consistent in saying the bailouts won't work. I agree and disagree with Michelle. Let me explain. Simply put - America, the world in fact, is in trouble because of bad credit and bad risk-taking. Jumping up above the dirty details and blame, let's assume there are basically two ways out of this mess. We can let failed credit, failed businesses and failure all around fall - or we can prop it up. The government is opting to prop it up with "good credit." But the truth of that good credit is that it is the ability for working men and women to "pay it back" for generations to come. The rosy scenario from pro-bailout folks is that businesses will revive and ultimately remove future taxpayers from that scheme. Unfortunately, I'm unconvinced that will happen, whether the economy revives quickly, or not. (READ MORE)

ShrinkWrapped: Some Thoughts on Complexity - The scientific method was, and remains, one of the great triumphs of human intellect. It has allowed us to understand the workings of our world to a level of detail that is remarkable, even as the fruits of the scientific method are taken for granted by most people. At the same time, fewer and fewer people understand even the rudiments of the scientific method. Those who have only the most minimal understanding of science, how scientific data is evaluated, and how scientific facts are arrived at include the vast bulk of MSM reporters, often including the science reporters, and our learned legislators, who know how to be elected and disperse the public's money but share a level of (mis)understanding of science that can only horrify those who have a modicum of scientific knowledge. What is crucial to understand about science is that the scientific method is poorly designed to elucidate complexity. (READ MORE)

Sister Toldjah: Meanwhile, back at the UN - If you’re like me, one of the things you enjoyed most about last night’s 24 movie was how it accurately portrayed the UN as inept, selfish, and worthless - especially in times of crises. The only thing they got wrong was in their portrayal of the UN was the claim by the UN worker that the UN sas “neutral in this conflict” - the United Nations likes to play that card time and time again but history shows that when the cards are all out on the table, the UN will side more often than not with rogue nations/groups hell bent on resisting law, order, and democratic rule, and who also show no regard whatsoever for the human rights of innocent people. Nothing demonstrates that more than the United Nations solidarity with the Palestinian people. I blogged back in 2005 about an annual November event the UN holds with Palestinian leaders designed to reaffirm their commitment to the Palestinian cause. It’s called “International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People.” (READ MORE)

Susan Katz Keating: L'Affaire Meo Continues: Disgraced Journo Asks NATO to Muzzle American Milbloggers - There has been a most interesting development in L'Affaire Meo. Disgraced British journalist Nick Meo has asked officials from the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to muzzle American milbloggers. Seriously. I'm not joking. For those of you who have just joined us: London Daily Telegraph reporter Nick Meo behaved poorly while embedded with an American Army unit, and subsequently was called out by American milbloggers. As reported here and elsewhere, Meo accompanied our troops on a mission in Afghanistan. When the mission turned deadly, the uninjured Meo wangled an escape on board a Medevac chopper, and later filed an error-filled report that took pot-shots at the very troops who saved his life. American milbloggers, AKA The Pitchfork Brigade, correctly pointed out fabrications in Meo's published writings, and properly chastised him for dishonoring a slain soldier. Even a respected British journalist took umbrage at Meo's report: "I was appalled. It was a crappy piece of work." (READ MORE)

Steve Schippert: Stopping Iran: Moving Forward - We discussed Iran last night on Crane Durham’s Nothing But Truth, Crane’s weekly program which airs live Sunday nights at 7PM EST on 97.1 FM TALK - St. Louis. At issue was the latest ‘revelation’ that Iran has enough nuclear material - if enriched further - to produce one nuclear weapon. I took two approaches: First, this isn’t really news. Iran does not have enough material enriched to weapons grade - so far as we know. We’ve always known they have enough raw or low enriched material. Getting it to weapons grade has always been the trick, not possessing incomplete materials, which they have had plenty of for some time. Then there’s the question of constructing a device that works even after they have ample amounts of HEU. Second, at the same time, this should serve as a wake-up call. If you did not realize they had enough material awaiting weapons-grade enrichment and are now alarmed to learn this, welcome to the club of the alarmed. (READ MORE)

Ron Winter: Victory in Iraq! But Mookie is Back! - Told you I did. Smack him I said. Muqtada Al Sadr. He has been a pain in the ass of progress in Iraq since before we invaded, and he is a pain in the ass til this very day. But did the US government do what should have been done to insure that the single most divisive, destabilizing force in Iraqi politics was sent to meet Allah? Nope. Didn't do it. Worried about what people would say. Worried about the reaction. So, now that we are a few steps away from having a workable agreement with the Iraqi parliament that would include a timetable for withdrawal of US troops in an orderly fashion, who is jumping up and down, stomping his feet and holding his breath until he turns blue? Who is threatening to trash the agreement, rip it up and throw it away? Good Ol' Mookie, that's who. (READ MORE)

UrbanGrounds: What is the Left-o-sphere Whining About Today? - The unhinged Liberal wing of the Blogosphere is having an anurysim (again) this morning because Katon Dawson, the South Carolina GOP chairman who announced his candidacy for RNC chair yesterday, was a member of a a “whites only” Country Club. Never mind that Dawson has been working to try to change the membership rules at his club. Or never mind that he quit. Because the man is obviously a racist (hell, he voted against Obama, which makes him a racist by definition anyway…the country club thing is just gravy). Funny…belonging to a country club makes Dawson guilty by association — but the Left doesn’t hold Obama and his 20-year membership in Rev. Wright’s anti-American, anti-white person church* against him? Oh, and as long as Rep. Robert Byrd (D-WV) — a Kleagle in the Klu Klux Klan — is in Congress, you heathens can just keep your collective pie hole shut about associations with “racist organizations”. Ok? (READ MORE)

Information Dissemination: Are Pirates the Problem, or the Solution? - Two of my favorite writers, Robert Farley and Thomas Barnett, have weighed in on Somali piracy, and while I agree with every point made by both, I disagree with both writers regarding how to manage the issue of Somali piracy. It isn't that I disagree with either of them that building international partnerships to fight piracy is the wrong way ahead, I would just point out that the current actions by the US Navy to in fact do nothing to curb piracy is well aligned with US Grand Strategy, even though working with international partners to curb piracy is also well aligned with US Grand Strategy. The point here is not trivial, the point is that Somali piracy is not counter to US interests in Somalia. Rare will you find a blog committed to Naval discussions make the argument that piracy is not counter to the interests of the United States, but when it comes to Somalia it is important to remember that for this country right now, there are other, more important strategic interests at work. (READ MORE)

This Ain’t Hell: Obama’s double talk on taxes - Barack Obama had his second press conference since his election yesterday in which he outlined his economic plan - somehow it turns out to be a whole lot different than what he campaigned on. Remember how he was going to give everyone a tax cut? Well, we just got thrown under the bus according to the Washington Times; “President-elect Barack Obama’s campaign promise to cut spending has been waylaid by the reality of the economy, and he warned Monday that the deficit is going to grow and spending cuts will have to take a back seat now to stimulating the economy. He also signaled he may forgo immediate tax increases on high-income families and instead wait for the Bush tax cuts to expire.” See, that’s fine with me, tax increases should be postponed in any economic climate. (READ MORE)

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