June 18, 2008

Web Reconnaissance for 06/18/2008

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)
NO More News Links…at $2.50 a word the daily Web Reconnaissance would cost me over $10,000 /day. Thanks AP.

On the Web:
Holman W. Jenkins, Jr.: The Second Death of the U.S. Airlines - Smart businesses ask themselves how they can make themselves more popular with customers by "unbundling" the goods or services they provide. Burger joints charge extra for cheese, but not usually for lettuce and tomato. Yet fairness is surely served by letting haters of lettuce and tomato escape the burden of subsidizing those who love them? Never mind. No business is more loathed than the airlines right now, even as they do their customers the unbundling favor. Carriers are slicing away at services to create options for the most price-sensitive fliers to avoid services they don't want to pay for: checked luggage, meals, pillows and blankets. To keep fares low, airlines also skimp on backup planes and empty seats -- even if this makes it harder to get home if your flight is cancelled. (READ MORE)

Thomas Frank: Lord, Make Me Conservative, But Not Yet - The Republican Party is in tatters, but conservatism shares no portion of the blame. Or so former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay wrote in a cheering column a few weeks ago. The movement's ideals of "reform" and "justice" did not fail, intoned this towering figure of virtue; conservatism just never got a proper shot in the first place. "To paraphrase G.K. Chesterton," Mr. DeLay wrote, "conservatism has not been tried and found wanting; it has been found difficult and left untried." Did Mr. DeLay's head rotate on his shoulders, Linda Blair-like, when he wrote that line? I don't know. But it sure made this liberal chuckle. Nothing in this world Tom DeLay has ever wanted has been left untried. (READ MORE)
Bernard Goldberg: Russert Took Media Bias Seriously - There have been millions of words written and spoken in the past few days about Tim Russert -- words about how Tim knew his beat better than almost anyone in Washington, about how hard work was in his blue-collar DNA, and about what a decent guy he was. All true. But days later another reality has finally sunk in: that while his colleagues loved and admired Tim, I'm not at all sure they really understood him, not the part that made him so important in American journalism, anyway. Knowing politics as well as he did was part of it, for sure. But a lot of people in Washington know politics. Asking probing questions was part of it, too. But again, Tim didn't have a patent on tough questions. And it wasn't just that (unlike too many others) he was fair to both sides. No, what made Tim Russert different, and better, I think was his willingness to listen to -- and take seriously -- criticism about his own profession. (READ MORE)

Dick Armey: Congress and the Countrywide Scandal - Countrywide Financial Corp.'s "friends of Angelo" program provided sweetheart loans to key banking players in Washington, D.C. They included former Fannie Mae chief executive Jim Johnson, Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad (D., N.D.) and Senate Banking Committee Chairman Christopher Dodd (D., Conn.). The growing scandal surrounding the "friends of Angelo" loans (so-called by company employees, referring to Countrywide CEO Angelo Mozilo) should serve as a political wake-up call. Yet the Senate appears intent on pushing forward legislation, co-authored by Sen. Dodd, that would bail out the worst actors in the subprime mortgage banking industry. Campaigning in Lancaster, Pa., on March 31, Sen. Barack Obama blamed Countrywide's CEO for "infecting the economy and helping to create a home foreclosure crisis." Yet Rep. Barney Frank (D., Mass.) and Mr. Dodd have crafted a bill to provide $300 billion in new taxpayer loan guarantees to Countrywide and others. (READ MORE)

Amy H. Freidman & Peter Murphy: New York's Novel Way to Kill Charter Schools - Buffalo, N.Y. - Ten years ago, New York joined the charter school revolution by passing a law to allow these innovative public schools to open. Today there are nearly 100 charters in the state and dozens more in the pipeline. But now, thanks to the state's Department of Labor and a labor-friendly state judge, building a new charter school just got a lot harder and a lot more expensive. Charter schools are built on a simple idea. In exchange for less state funding and a mandate on performance, charters are exempt from many high-cost regulations that hamstring traditional public schools. Tapestry Charter School in central Buffalo has accepted that bargain and has excelled. It has served lower- and middle-income students since it opened its doors in 2001. Today it has about 350 students and, like most charters, outperforms district public schools on state tests. (READ MORE)

Abdel Wahid Al-Nur: Why We Won't Talk to Sudan's Islamo-Fascists - The international community is horrified by the situation in Darfur. While the massacres of black Africans have been documented and their perpetrators -- government troops and their Arab militia -- identified, the political causes are less known. One theory popular in the Western media is that the conflict is the result of ethnic or economic rivalries that are too complex and too entrenched to solve. There lies perhaps Khartoum's greatest misinformation success: Making the world believe that the situation is so confused that there is no cohesive opposition, and therefore no solution to the crisis. Part of the blame for this misconception has to go to our party, the Sudan Liberation Movement. We haven't done enough to explain the situation to the international public, simply because we decided to rely only on ourselves. (READ MORE)

Michael Medved: First Americans, First Ecologists? - Political correctness portrays untamed America before European invasion as a natural paradise, where Indians maintained an exquisite ecological balance, living in a harmonious, idyllic relationship to the natural world. According to conventional wisdom, this pre-Columbian Eden flourished for peaceful millenia until brutal disuprtion by thoughtless, menacing and mercenary white colonists. Stewart Udall, one-time Arizona Congressman and later Secretary of the Interior for President Kennedy, became an early advocate of this point of view in his influential 1973 article, “Indians: First Americans, First Ecologists,” urging modern citizens to follow the native example of treating the landscape with love and respect. Udall’s arguments received powerful support from the popularization of the moving speech of Chief Seattle, the Duwamish elder who addressed a meeting in 1854 in the raw settlement in Washington Territory that ultimately took his name. (READ MORE)

Michelle Malkin: The Marines Vs. Haditha Smear Merchants - Yet another U.S. Marine, Lt. Col. Jeffrey Chessani, had charges dropped Tuesday in the so-called Haditha massacre -- bringing the total number of Marines who've been cleared or won case dismissals in the Iraq war incident to seven. "Undue command influence" on the prosecution led to the outcome in Chessani's case. Bottom line: That's zero for seven for military prosecutors, with one trial left to go. I repeat: Haditha prosecution goes 0-7. But you won't see that headline in the same Armageddon-sized font The New York Times used repeatedly when the story first broke. The Times, Rep. John Murtha, D-Pa, and the rest of the anti-war drum-pounders who fueled the smear campaign against the troops two years ago should hang their hands in shame. They won't, of course. Perpetuating the "cold-blooded Marines" narrative means never having to say you're sorry. (READ MORE)

Walter E. Williams: Airport Tyranny - It's been at least five years since I've flown commercial, and for good reason: I don't wish to be arrested for questioning actions by often arrogant, rude Transportation Security Administration (TSA) workers. Two years ago, my decision was reinforced by my daughter's experience when going through airport security with her two lovebirds. Having shown her ticket and ID to security personnel, and walking toward the metal detector, they started shouting to her, "Miss, you're going to have to take them birds out of the cage." I watched with incredulity as she approached the metal detectors. Fortunately, a TSA worker took the cages and my daughter followed without further incident. Had it been I traveling with the birds, I might have told the TSA workers something that would have gotten me arrested. James Bovard has an article titled "Federal Attitude Policy" that appears in Freedom Daily (June 2008), a publication of the Fairfax, Va.-based Future of Freedom Foundation. (READ MORE)

Thomas Sowell: Tim Russert (1950-2008) - Only with Tim Russert's sudden death at the age of 58 has his true stature as a landmark journalist become as widely recognized as it has long deserved to be. To ask who will replace him as host of "Meet the Press" is to confront the reality that there is no one comparable on the horizon. Those of us who have followed "Meet the Press" since the long ago days of Lawrence Spivak know that Russert was the best of some very good hosts. What made Tim Russert special was not some trademark catchword or contrived persona. What you saw was what you got-- a down to earth guy who came on the air having thoroughly researched the subject and having a keen insight into politics and politicians. He didn't flaunt his knowledge. He was one of the few very smart people who seemed to feel no need to impress others that he was smart. But, if you knew the subject that he was talking about, you realized that he had really done his homework. (READ MORE)

Ben Shapiro: Why I'm Voting Democrat - A new video on YouTube is taking the Internet by storm. Entitled "I'm Voting Republican," the satirical clip depicts actors playing conservative Americans of all shapes and sizes explaining why they would vote for the GOP. "Arnold Jones" says he's voting Republican because "all other countries are inferior to us" -- and his wife, "Trudy Jones," adds, "and we should start as many wars as we need to keep it that way." A soldier in Iraq states that he's voting Republican "so I can stay in Iraq" -- and a young boy, labeled "future draftee," points a fake gun at the camera and smiles while saying "so I can go to Iran!" A black couple says they're voting Republican because they "like a conservative majority on the Supreme Court," with the wife noting, "we really like knowing that even if we're separate, we'll still be called equal." This insulting nonsense is precisely what liberals think of conservatives: (READ MORE)

John Stossel: Legalize All Drugs - The other day, reading the New York Post's popular Page Six gossip page, I was surprised to find a picture of me, followed by the lines: "ABC'S John Stossel wants the government to stop interfering with your right to get high. The crowd went silent at his call to legalize hard drugs". I had attended a Marijuana Policy Project event celebrating the New York State Assembly's passage of a medical-marijuana bill. (The bill hasn't passed the Senate.) I told the audience I thought it pathetic that the mere half passage of a bill to allow sick people to try a possible remedy would merit such a celebration. Of course medical marijuana should be legal. For adults, everything should be legal. I'm amazed that the health police are so smug in their opposition. After years of reporting on the drug war, I'm convinced that this "war" does more harm than any drug. (READ MORE)

Brent Bozell III: Gore Endorses Obama: So What? - The day after Al Gore endorsed Barack Obama in Detroit, MSNBC kept repeating the allegedly big news with the on-air question "Will Gore Help or Hurt Obama?" Left out of that question: Who cares? Does Gore's endorsement matter at all? Pundits usually declare in today's media-saturated world that endorsements from major politicians or movie stars just don't have much impact. A Who's Who of the Beautiful People in Hollywood endorsed and actively campaigned for John Kerry -- and had no impact. With Al Gore it's the same thing. He doesn't bring a single vote Obama doesn't already have. He could have participated in the process, but he waited until the primary challenge from Hillary was over. Now he supports Obama. Where in the world is the news there? But this is Obama. Anything related to Obama that could be construed as helpful becomes news. (READ MORE)

Jonah Goldberg: Canada's Thought Police - Mark Steyn, my friend, colleague and arguably the most talented political writer working today, is on trial for thought crimes. Steyn -- a one-man media empire based in New Hampshire -- was published a few years ago in Maclean's. Now the magazine and its editors are in the dock before the British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal on the charge that they violated a provincial hate-speech law by running the work of a hate-monger, namely Mark Steyn. A similar prosecution is pending before the national version of this kangaroo court, the Canadian Human Rights Commission. Not that the facts are relevant to the charges, but here's what happened. Maclean's ran an excerpt from Steyn's bestseller, "America Alone." The Canadian Islamic Congress took offense. It charged in its complaint that the magazine was "flagrantly Islamophobic" and "subjects Canadian Muslims to hatred and contempt." (READ MORE)

Janet M. LaRue: Battlefield 'Habeas Corpus' - Here’s my advice to our troops in harm’s way based on the U.S. Supreme Court’s reprehensible ruling June 12, which forces the military to treat enemy fighters captured in combat as if they were caught insider trading on Wall Street. In Boumedine v. Bush and Al Odah v. United States, a 5-4 Court majority declared that illegal enemy jihadists you captured outside America, now being held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, have a constitutional right to challenge their confinement in civilian courts inside America. The decision is based on a legal principle called habeas corpus, which means “you have the body.” Here’s my battlefield version: “Don’t doubt—take them out!” Give ’em a box instead of a brief.” Thanks to five “unelected politically unaccountable judges,” as Chief Justice Roberts put it, you can no longer afford to spare their lives unless you want to: (READ MORE)

Amanda Carpenter: McCain Adviser: Obama Delusional on Terror - One of John McCain’s top aides said Barack Obama’s position on terrorism was “delusional” and highlighted Obama's ignorance in security matters in a conference call Tuesday morning. Randy Scheunemann, foreign policy adviser to the McCain campaign, said Obama was “practicing the policy of delusion” when praising the prosecution of the 1993 World Trade Center bombings and the Supreme Court’s recent decision to grant detainees rights to habeas corpus hearings. The attacks come in response to remarks Obama made in an interview with ABC news that were aired Monday evening. Obama said, “What we know is that, in previous terrorist attacks -- for example, the first attack against the World Trade Center, we were able to arrest those responsible, put them on trial. They are currently in U.S. prisons, incapacitated. (READ MORE)

Austin Bay: Mugabe the Obscene - "Frankly obscene," Australia's foreign minister said. Australia's Stephen Smith was referring to Zimbabwean dictator Robert Mugabe's appearance at a U.N. food conference earlier this month. Yes, a dictator who uses starvation to scatter and kill his own people making an appearance at an international conference devoted to raising food and feeding the hungry is an obscenity -- though I add, without cynicism, that the situation isn't all that unusual. Petty tyrants, terrorist enablers and tribal killers cluster about the wine and cheese smorgasbords of international community fetes and summits. At these forums, they blame the United States for, well, virtually anything and everything. Anti-Americanism -- or in Mugabe's case, a worn-out '60s-style "anti-imperialist" pitch aimed at Great Britain -- provide media camouflage for their hideous genocides and cruel depredations. (READ MORE)

Humbled Infidel: Pledge of Allegiance Banned To Not Offend Muslims - A government school principal has banned the Pledge of Allegiance in his school. Not because he objected to the term “Under God,” but he was afraid the Pledge would offend Muslims. Because, apparently, there is no God in Islam: “At least one Muslim community leader says he feels the same way. Muhammad Najieb says that ‘God’ is central to the Muslim faith, and there are several references to him in every prayer.” Islam is a monotheistic religion, just like Christianity. This multi-culti nit wit has not only offended Muslims with his ignorance, but has actually “caused hurt feelings, and may foster bitterness and division within the community.” Which goes back to Jim Quinn’s First Law: Liberalism always generates the exact opposite of its stated intent. (READ MORE)

Information Dissemination: Five Good Reads - Neptunus Lex addresses an issue that has bothered me lately, specifically how some are going after McCain based on his service record. I can't say I'm much of a McCain supporter, but I do have some concerns on the topic Lex is covering. This year there will be a number of veterans running for election on both sides of the isle, and I for one have very little respect for these baby boomer journalist hacks who want to smear the record of veterans, particularly smearing their service during wartime. Only in America can people like Jeffery Klein avoid the draft by going to an Ivy League school, just to grow up and smear the reputation of veterans leveraging his occupation as a journalist for credibility. T.E. Shaw has contributed an excellent piece to the naval discussion regarding fleet constitution strategy, in particular taking an interesting strategic view regarding the requirements for small combatants. (READ MORE)

Sigmund, Carl and Alfred: Academic Hokey Pokey - Charles Johnson of Little Green Footballs points to the rather sophomoric rantings of a San Francisco ‘academic.’ He points to an article by one George Bisharat a professor of law at Hastings College of Law. Bisharat takes issue with Israel as a ‘Jewish’ state. He does not seem to recall that most of the middle east claim to be Muslim states- and given the barbarous track record of those broken, failed and dysfunctional states, he is in no position to take umbrage at Israel. Bisharat is not the first Arab academic with no clothes. The LA Times published an Op-Ed piece, Why Does The Times Recognize Israel’s ‘Right To Exist’?, by Saree Makdisi. The piece is a toast to drivel,absurdity and deceit, masquerading as ‘informed thought.’ Mr Makdisi provides a textbook look at malignant narcissism and the consequences of that behavior (an accurate, if unflattering review by his peers can be found here). (READ MORE)

This Ain't Hell: Democrats and oil - This morning, Associated Press writes that President Bush is expected to ask Congress to relieve restrictions on off-shore drilling; “Then gasoline prices topped $4 a gallon this summer. Drivers and others began clamoring for federal lawmakers to do something about the record price of oil, much of it produced in foreign countries. In response, President Bush is renewing his call to open U.S. coastal waters to oil and gas development, arguing that it’s high time to battle high prices with increased domestic production. He is planning to ask Congress on Wednesday to lift the drilling moratoria that have been in effect since 1981 in more than 80 percent of the country’s Outer Continental Shelf and to let states help to decide where to allow drilling.” But, surprise, the Democrats want to extend the ban into 2009 - when they hope to have the presidency and they can claim they solved the current energy problem. (READ MORE)

GI Kate: (Video) Women Of The Military - say hello to ten intelligent, amazing, women who are serving or have served in the military or have dedicated their time to make female soldiers voices heard. some have went to Iraq, some have spent years traveling around the world, some have paved the way for other females...we have all given years of our life to be apart of something bigger than ourselves...now its your turn to pay attention. (READ MORE)

Soccerdad: Israeli oppression and security - Elder of Ziyon observes that a a list of supplies that Israeli has allowed into Gaza during the first half of June shows that the “terrible siege” that Israel has imposed isn’t exactly hermetic. And Israelly Cool shows a photograph of three terrorists doing quite well in those terrible conditions in Israeli jail. He notes: “Especially Kuntar, who’s idea of a hunger strike seems to be not eating the second steak …” Kuntar, the vicious murderer about to be released has also married and earned a degree in jail. Perhaps when Israel’s enemies refer to Gaza as a “jail” it means that the residents of Gaza are as prosperous as the terrorist that Israel has incarcerated. (READ MORE)

DJ Drummond: John McCain, Hero - Cassy's piece got me going on the topic. Many on the Left have been attacking John McCain viciously. Not his Senate record or positions on the major issues so much, as they have been attacking him for his service in Vietnam. Given Barack Obama's lack of significant accomplishment in anything other than selling books and making speeches, it is hardly surprising that he and his followers would regard McCain's most distinctive service as a threat to Obama's ambition. It is also apparent that most Obama supporters have no real idea of what McCain did as a Navy officer that sets him apart from so many of his fellow veterans. I have written before that I disagree with a number of McCain's political positions, and I dislike the way he has treated fellow Republicans, especially President Bush. None of that, however, diminishes what John McCain accomplished as a prisoner of war in Vietnam. (READ MORE)

Dale Carpenter: Religious liberty and SSM - As wedding bells begin ringing for gay couples and families in California, opponents of gay marriage are turning up the volume on a relatively new argument: that same-sex marriage is a threat to religious liberty. Just today we have seen two passionate salvos. Maggie Gallagher, writing at NRO, warns that gay marriage means "the official harassment and repression (by our own government) of traditional religious faiths." Marc Stern, general counsel for the American Jewish Congress, writing in the L.A. Times, warns that "it is religious rights that are likely to be 'obliterated' by an emerging popular majority supporting same-sex relationships." There was nothing very surprising in either of these op-eds. Maggie began pressing the religious-liberty argument against gay marriage at least three years ago. Stern has a chapter on "Gay Marriage and the Churches" in a forthcoming book of essays by several authors entitled Same-Sex Marriage and Religious Liberty. (READ MORE)

Urban Grounds: Gore Finally Endorses Obama - Big Goreacle has finally broken the suspense and endorsed The Obamassiah. Joe Gandelman at The Moderate Voice gets it exactly right: “Perhaps one day someone will write a chapter about Al Gore in a new book titled ‘Profiles In Uncourage.’ Democratic presumptive Presidential nominee Barack Obama finally got what he and former rival Senator Hillary Clinton had pined for all these months — THE endorsement from former Vice President Al Gore. But it came so late in the game that the person who’ll be most impressed with it will be Tipper Gore.” Way to go out a limb there, Gore. Way to make a decision when it matters and can do some good. That he waited until the wife of the man for whom he served as Vice President finally conceded the race to endorse her opponent shows just what kind of a true coward Gore has been his entire life. (READ MORE)

Steve Schippert: Ceding To Terrorists Through Incoherent Courts - So you think the United States has problems with its courts, namely the Supreme Court, when it comes to dealing with terrorism and terrorists? Step aside, SCOTUS. Britain just saw your habeas corpus and raised you one bail and threw in government subsidies for good measure when it awarded bail to Abu Qatada today and was then freed at 10PM London time. “Abu Qatada, the radical Islamic cleric described as Osama bin Laden’s ‘right-hand man in Europe,’ has been released from jail after a judge ruled that there were no grounds to keep him in prison. The decision to allow him to return to his home in London – where he will receive around £1,000 per month in state benefits – made a mockery of the government’s promise to crack down on terror suspects, and embarrassed the Home Office, which had pledged to deport Qatada to Jordan to face terror charges.” (READ MORE)

Cassandra: Isn't It Ironic? - Yeah, I really do think. Pardon my confusion. Many moons ago the upstart blog rabble were told in no uncertain terms that we are by no means to give ourselves airs by comparing ourselves to professional journalists: “Journalism requires journalists, who are at least fitfully confronting the digital age. The bloggers, for their part, produce minimal reportage. Instead, they ride along with the MSM like remora fish on the bellies of sharks, picking at the scraps.” We are, for instance, to be distinguished from the folks who do this sort of thing for a living because we do no original research, relying instead upon information supplied by investigative reporters and their sources. The argument, as I take it, is that even though (unlike, say, newspapers - who are a for-profit venture) we make no money from blogging, it would be "unfair" for us to "profit" by appropriating - even with credit and a link to the source - work done by professional journalists without paying them for their efforts. (READ MORE)

MasterGunner: No, This Is How The US Treats TERRORISTS... - Everyone is following the upcoming US Presidential Election. Even our enemies are following the developments closely. Personally, I think one of the biggest issues that concerns the American Public at Large is how the War on Terror will be conducted in 2009 and beyond. I don't think my feelings towards the Anti-War movement are a secret.I have nothing but the utmost disdain for people who would make a conscious effort to work against everything we have accomplished in Iraq and Afghanistan. Let's be honest, though. Barack Obama is the "Anti-War" candidate. No matter what his personal stance on the issue is (though I am 100% convinced it mirrors his public stance), I think it would be the biggest mistake to abandon our efforts to combat the most serious threat to our National Security in the history of our nation. (READ MORE)

Warner Todd Huston: A Lefty That Says ‘Bush never lied to us about Iraq’ - James Kirchick, assistant editor of The New Republic, has come under my scrutiny for his bias before, of course. I see one of my roles as keeping an eye on the bias in the media and to document and analyze that bias. But while I naturally focus on when the media get it wrong, I also like to point out when those who I’ve criticized get it right. Here is a case when a member of the media that I usually criticize did, indeed, get it right and this time it might get him in Dutch with his lefty pals in the nutroots. After all, the surest way to get the nutroots upset at you is to say Bush did not lie about the war. But that is exactly what Kirchick just did and he did an admirable job chronicling it, too. In an editorial in the L.A. Times on the 16th, Kirchick said that “Bush never lied to us about Iraq” and then went on to substantiate his claim in a style that runs contrary to the Media and nutroots meme that “Bush lied and people died.” (READ MORE)

Melanie Phillips: The dangerous naivety of the well-intentioned - The conference in Berlin which I’ve been attending, organised by the Weidenfeld Foundation and the Axel Springer corporation, was about relations between the EU and Israel. It was simultaneously encouraging — touching, even -- and dismaying. Encouraging because here was a Europe which – in the form of the German and Czech foreign and interior ministers at least, along with sundry diplomats and business people -- had stopped hectoring Israel for its crimes and instead was pledging never to abandon it to its enemies; and it was touching to see the painful awareness of the Germans of their duty to ensure that their own history should never again be repeated elsewhere in the world. (READ MORE)

Sister Toldjah: Gore’s “green” home uses more energy now than it did before - When last we left you, The King of Green Al Gore was using 20 times more electricity in his home compared to the average household. In fact, the Tennessee Center for Policy Research reported in February of 2007 that “Gore’s mansion, [20-room, eight-bathroom] located in the posh Belle Meade area of Nashville, consumes more electricity every month than the average American household uses in an entire year, according to the Nashville Electric Service (NES).” Naturally, Gore responded indignantly, without really addressing the core charge made by the TCPR. With that in mind, it’ll be interesting to see how/if/when he responds to their latest report: “NASHVILLE - In the year since Al Gore took steps to make his home more energy-efficient, the former Vice President’s home energy use surged more than 10%, according to the Tennessee Center for Policy Research.” (READ MORE)

McQ: More on the AP flap - Shaun Mullen offers some temperate words in an attempt to calm the seas concerning the brewing conflict between AP and bloggers. “Earth To Pundits: There is no such thing as a free lunch in the blogosphere which makes calls for a boycott against The Associated Press because of its warning that using wire service content in the form of excerpts and links without payment is in violation of copyright law is misguided — or to put it in terms that some bloggers would understand, it’s plain stoopid. I seem to be in the minority on this point of view, and there are some heavyweights like Jeff Jarvis in the majority, although Jeff later more or less came to his senses and is now proposing a link ethic between the AP and bloggers, while AP itself also has backed off.” But that’s the problem ... they haven’t backed off. They’ve gotten loonier. They now plan to charge bloggers $2.50 a word for any size excerpt, even those which would fall under fair use. (READ MORE)

Scott Johnson: Keith Olbermann, liar - Observers of the insane clown posse on MSNBC -- observers such as Ed Morrissey, for example -- noticed the classless comments made by Chris Matthews to Keith Olbermann on Olbermann's "Countdown" show on the occasion of Tim Russert's death. "It may be tricky to say this, and I'll say it," Matthews said, introducing his weirdly derogatory remembrance of Russert. Matthews said that Russert had believed the administration's assertion that Saddam was trying to get nuclear weapons and that Russert was "an everyman" for believing it. Matthews was giving Russert what was at best a backhanded compliment, essentially portraying the just-deceased Russert as a dupe. Watch the video for yourself here. On Monday Olbermann promoted my friend Andrew Breitbart as the Worst Person in the World throughout "Countdown." (READ MORE)

Douglas V. Gibbs: Gay Marriage In California - Validating the Dark Ages - Gay marriage has begun in California. Homosexuals are flocking here from around the country to be wed. This troubles me greatly. In a conversation on my radio show a couple weeks ago one of my listeners called in when I was discussing Homosexuality and says to me, "I know a lot of gay people, and they are actually nice people." I have never pulled out such a broad stroke brush and said, "Gays are not nice," or that I "Hate Gays." But see, that is how the agenda functions. If you say that you believe homosexuality is a sin, or not normal, or that the homosexual agenda is a dangerous political engine, you are automatically stamped on the forehead as someone who "hates" gays, a person who thinks all gay people are mean, a homo-phobe, and whatever other label they desire to slap on you. (READ MORE)

Neptunus Lex: Leaving nothing to chance - I have said before that Democratic Party operatives and campaign proxies would do well, as Al Gore did last night in his emotional endorsement of Barack Obama, to thank Senator McCain for his heroism in combat and in the Hanoi Hilton, and then move on to more substantive matters dealing with the here and now. There is very little to be gained in attempting to pry out some hidden weakness in his military record that does not 1) reflect poorly on those doing the prying, and 2) set up unappealing contrasts between the different candidates and their various kinds of public service. They ought instead try to change the subject, talk about something else, move the discussion to more congenial ground. But there are some who just can’t let it go. These people are like children that didn’t make the cut for the high school football team, and went home to tell their momma through bitter tears that they didn’t care anyway. (READ MORE)

Michael J. Totten: No More Gazas - Robert Dujarric and Andy Zelleke challenge Senator John McCain in the Christian Science Monitor. They ask three important questions that everyone in the United States ought to have answered before casting a vote in the November election. “Senator McCain has yet to give the American people clear answers to three fundamental questions: What, exactly, are the political objectives of keeping large numbers of American soldiers in Iraq for years to come? What plausible outcome would benefit the United States enough to justify the wrenching costs of achieving those objectives? And what, concretely, is the strategy for getting there?” I am not affiliated with the McCain campaign in any way and cannot be considered one of its spokesmen. These are important questions, however, and Senator McCain shouldn’t be the only one with some answers. First let’s get something out of the way. Not every war is fought for the purpose of achieving something good or creating something new that has never existed—an Arab democracy in Iraq, for example. (READ MORE)

The Marching Camp: A brief comment on Colonels and Scumbags - On Colonels, we have the dismissal of charges against Lt. Col. Jeffery Chessani, USMC. Colonel Chessani, for those playing the Home Game, was the commanding officer of the battalion involved in the (so-called) Haditha shootings. After seven other Marines were charged with various murder charges, he was charged with failing to investigate the incident vigorously enough. However, now that the Government has dropped charges against five of the Marines for lack of evidence, tried to bring one to trial but was acquitted on charges, and has downgraded the charges for the remaining Marine to manslaughter, they realized this was not going to fly either. So his charges have been dropped. Neener, neener, neener. Bet that unless you read it on a blog, you haven't heard of this happening. Compare with the number of Old Media stories on the (fictional) incident when it allegedly happened. (READ MORE)

Amy Proctor: ‘The U.S. Doesn’t Do Military Occupations’ - With violence down by 90% in Anbar Province, assistant intelligence officer for 2nd Battalion, 24th Marines Chief Warrant Officer 5 Jim Roussell says the Iraqi economy is booming and Iraqis understand we aren’t there to occupy their country but to help them become self-sufficient. Iraq’s spending budget increased nearly $30 billion in 2008 from $41 billion in 2007 to $70 billion for 2008. The U.S. death toll is also at an all time low with 19 U.S. soldiers killed in May 2008, the lowest of the war. Noting the progress, Chief Warrant Officer Roussell said: “‘It just shows that progress is being made, but it’s not easy. It’s hard and time consuming. We’re trying to plant this difficult flower in the middle of the desert and it’s just beginning to bud.’ ‘We’re very close. It’s like in football when you’re down to just the last five yards and you’ve got the winning score on the board,” he said. “You don’t want to make any mistakes in those last two minutes to change the outcome of the game.’” (READ MORE)

Ed Morrissey: Team McCain Conference Call: National Security - The McCain campaign hauled out a big gun today on national security: Rudy Giuliani. He told the conference call that the debate on terrorism is important because of the large differences between Obama and McCain. Giuliani described it as between being on the defensive rather than the offensive. Before 9/11, our strategy was unrealistic in retrospect. There was no meaningful follow-up to the criminal prosecution in 1993 for WTC I, no recognition that war had been declared on the US. At the time, we may not have recognized the pattern, but we certainly do now. Returning to that state of ignorance after all that has transpired since would be a huge step backwards. Hillary Clinton called Obama “irresponsible and naive”, and Giuliani understands why. (READ MORE)

Allahpundit: Quotes of the day - “These people are not by any means wicked or unjust or venal–some of the guests at the party had performed significant public service in one way or another. Many of them were Democrats who will vote for Obama. But I am sure that if you took a poll and asked them whether Obama could really change Washington-could really close loopholes on energy companies and raise taxes on the rich, reform the health-care system and significantly scale back the ill effects of global warming, substantially improve public schools or get us out of Iraq anytime soon–the answer would have been no, probably not. These ‘realists’ might even want such changes, or most of them. But they know how Washington works…" (READ MORE)

Don Surber: It’s the oil, stupid - Bush to Democrats: Drill or say hello to a Republican Congress. Here is the price Americans are paying for pristine coastlines: $4 a gallon for gasoline and $5 for a box of cereal. President Bush wants to end this nonsense. Drill. “The president believes Congress shouldn’t waste any more time,” White House press secretary Dana Perino told The Associated Press on Tuesday. “He will explicitly call on Congress to … pass legislation lifting the congressional ban on safe, environmentally friendly offshore oil drilling. He wants to work with states to determine where offshore drilling should occur.” It will be fun to see Democrats trot out their Save the Polar Bear talking points again. Rasmussen reported 67% of Americans want to drill and fill. That’s more than double the percent who want us out of Iraq immediately. (READ MORE)

Dafydd: The American Military: Threat... or Menace? - An illuminating argument has erupted between Democratic (de facto) nominee, Barack H. Obama, and Republican (de facto) nominee, John S. McCain. Simply put, Obama said in an interview that we should go back to the Bill Clinton policy of only going after terrorists in the courts, with writs and subpoenas, and not by force and violence; McCain said this was naive, that we had already tried this approach -- and it brought us 9/11; and Obama has ripped him for engaging in the "politics of fear." Fear. This reminds me... in a BBS discussion I was just involved in, one very leftist participant sneered something (I don't rememeber the precise wording) to the effect that, "I'm not afraid of old men in turbans living in caves," and accused me of being a frightened, sniveling coward. I asked him whether he had ever wondered why they're now living in caves, instead of Afghan training camps and Iraqi palaces... (READ MORE)

Grim @ Blackfive: There Is Much to be Won in Iraq - In The Christian Science Monitor, Robert Dujarric and Andy Zelleke declare that there is nothing left to be won in Iraq. Senator McCain has yet to give the American people clear answers to three fundamental questions: “What, exactly, are the political objectives of keeping large numbers of American soldiers in Iraq for years to come? What plausible outcome would benefit the United States enough to justify the wrenching costs of achieving those objectives? And what, concretely, is the strategy for getting there?” Michael Totten responds mostly in terms of what can be prevented: “Even if an unambiguous victory is impossible in the short or medium term for the United States and the elected government of Iraq, a victory of any kind for Al Qaeda in Iraq or Moqtada al Sadr’s radical Mahdi Army militia is likewise impossible while American forces remain on the ground and in the way.
As Totten says of himself, I am also not affiliated with the McCain campaign, and in fact am a Southern Democrat by political leaning. I agree with Mr. Totten that we all ought to respond to this question. (READ MORE)

A Soldier's Mind: Veteran of Iraq War Wants Deployment To Count Towards Jail Time - Most of you who know me, are aware that I work as a Victim Advocate. My job consists of providing services and support to victims of Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault. You all know how passionate I am about supporting our Troops. The following story is one time that I can definately say I am not in support of a specific Soldier. When I read this article at Military.com, needless to say, I was furious! Most of you have probably had contact with someone in your life who has been a victim of Domestic Violence or Sexual Assault and know how traumatic it can be for a victim. Perhaps you were a victim of one of these crimes yourself. If so, I’m sure that this will make you as angry as it does me. (READ MORE)

Purple Avenger @ Ace of Spades: Student voted "Most Likely to Be a Martyr."- Where did this happen? Saudi Arabia? Iran? Yemen? Pakistan? Nope. Alexandria Virginia, US of fucking A. The student of course went on to join AQ and plotted to assassinate the president. “...This was the steady diet of hate the Saudi academy fed Ahmed Abu Ali, who joined al-Qaida after graduating and plotted to kill President Bush. Lest anyone think Ali was a misfit loner, he graduated valedictorian and was voted as the ‘Most Likely to Be a Martyr...’” Not surprisingly, this Saudi backed school has strong support from a local democrat who will be running for congress. (READ MORE)

Lawhawk: Is This The Taliban Spring Offensive? - The North Shore Journal wonders whether the Taliban have been busy engaging in a military offensive without actually using its thugs in fights. They've apparently been sending propaganda to media outlets, who report that the Taliban have captured territory in Afghanistan without actually confirming that this is the case. That isn't to say that the Taliban aren't engaging in terrorism or that they aren't engaging in the annual spring offensive. “Canadian and Afghan forces have swept through areas around Kandahar to attack Taliban assets.
Afghan and Canadian forces moved into villages outside Kandahar on Wednesday to root out Taliban militants, killing at least 23 insurgents, while an explosion elsewhere killed four British soldiers, officials said. Troops in Arghandab district just outside of Kandahar, southern Afghanistan's largest city, exchanged fire with militants during ‘a few minor contacts,’ NATO spokesman Mark Laity said.” (READ MORE)

Neal Boortz: OBAMARANTS - OK ... so this is rambling ... but someone needs to really start calling this Obama character, and his fawning followers, out. I just love hearing The Messiah slamming McCain for "flip-flopping" on the issue of offshore drilling. I seem to remember that a few months ago Barack Obama was talking about almost doubling the capital gains tax. He wanted to take it up to 28%. Suddenly that changed. Apparently some advisors who are smarter than him had a little sit-down, and the idea went away. Flip-flopping? The people of this country, even people who call themselves liberal, want us to start recovering our own reserves of oil, including oil located offshore. Obama says that this is McCain pandering to oil companies. Pandering to oil companies? Obama's ploy here is to play to the ignorance and wealth envy of the American people by slamming oil companies hour after hour, day after day. (READ MORE)

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