June 20, 2008

Web Reconnaissance for 06/20/2008

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)
You know the drill.... Anyone have $10,000 I can use to post some news links?

On the Web:
Peggy Noonan: A Life's Lesson - When somebody dies, we tell his story and try to define and isolate what was special about it—what it was he brought to the party, how he enhanced life by showing up. In this way we educate ourselves about what really matters. Or, often, re-educate ourselves, for "man needs more to be reminded than instructed." I understand why some think that the media coverage surrounding Tim Russert's death was excessive—truly, it was unprecedented—but it doesn't seem to me a persuasive indictment, if only because what was said was so valuable. The beautiful thing about the coverage was that it offered extremely important information to those age 15 or 25 or 30 who may not have been told how to operate in the world beyond "Go succeed." I'm not sure we tell the young as much as we ought, as clearly as we ought, what it is the world admires, and what it is they want to emulate. (READ MORE)

Kimberly A. Strassel: Farewell, New Democrats - Listen closely to all those cheers for newly crowned nominee Barack Obama, and in the background you'll catch the notes of a funeral march. Resting, if not in peace, are the New Democrats. The Illinois senator's primary victory marked the end of many things, and one looks to be his party's 20-year experiment with ideological centrism. The New Dems are still out there, still urging their party to fight its natural liberal instincts. But who's listening? Buoyed by the Republican implosion, wild for their retro nominee, the intellectual soul of the Democratic Party is now firmly left. The New Democrats were born in the 1980s, in response to Ronald Reagan's triumphs. Prominent Democrats worried the party was out of touch, and created the Democratic Leadership Council. Its members were foreign-policy hawks, unafraid of cultural conservatism, and preached economic centrism. Their poster boy: Bill Clinton. (READ MORE)

Lawrence B. Lindsey: Obama Turns FDR Upside Down - Sen. Barack Obama has a bad idea for "extending the life of Social Security." He has proposed applying the Social Security tax to incomes above $250,000, in addition to the current tax on incomes up to $102,000. It's unfair, he explained, for middle-class earners to pay Social Security tax on "every dime they make" while the very rich pay on "only a very small percentage of their income." Reporters cited the Obama statement without asking for the logic behind having someone making $100,000 pay on every dime and someone making $250,000 pay on just 41% of income, while someone making $10,000,000 would pay on 98.5% of income. There is no economic principle or theory of tax law that would endorse such a result. Sen. Obama's logic is fairly obvious, although it hardly makes him an exemplar of the "new politics." (READ MORE)

Red Cavaney: The 'Idle' Oil Field Fallacy - A bill introduced in Congress this week would "compel" oil and natural gas companies to produce from federal lands they are leasing. If only it were that easy to find and produce oil. Imagine, an act of Congress that could do what geology could not. These lawmakers ask why oil and gas companies want more access to federal lands to drill if they aren't using all of the 68 million acres they already have? Anyone with even the most basic understanding of how oil and natural gas are produced – and this should include many members of Congress – knows that claims of "idle" leases are a diversionary feint. A company bids for and buys a lease because it believes there is a possibility that it may yield enough oil or natural gas to make the cost of the lease, and the costs of exploration and production, commercially viable. The U.S. government received $3.7 billion from company bids in a single lease sale in March 2008. (READ MORE)

Jane Harman: The Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty Is Obsolete - If claims by Iran that it's building 3,000 more centrifuges to enrich nuclear fuel are true, then the Bush administration and Congress face a more serious challenge than we first thought. Even assuming that Iran intends to use nuclear energy solely for peaceful purposes – and there are very good reasons to doubt Iran's stated intentions – the dangers posed by unsupervised, weapons-grade material in the hands of a regime that has threatened to "wipe Israel off the map" are unacceptable. The best course would be to persuade Iran to abandon its designs on the bomb and make its nuclear activities completely transparent to international authorities – as three United Nations Resolutions have required. But Iran is not the only problem. Other countries may travel down the same path, waving the banner of peaceful nuclear energy. Some – including North Korea – already have, and the international system is ill-prepared to prevent wannabes. (READ MORE)

David Gelernter: Terrorists Shouldn't Profit From Their Crimes - An unrepentant terrorist named Theodore Kaczynski (the "Unabomber") used mail bombs to kill three people and injure 28 – including me – between 1978 and 1995. He is now attempting to cash in on his brutal crimes, and a federal appeals court will soon decide his case. Kaczynski, who is serving a life sentence, has used his (considerable) leisure time to try to convince the courts that his personal property, seized at his arrest 12 years ago, must be returned. The most important item in this lot is his extensive handwritten manuscripts. In these pages he evidently doodled mail bomb designs, refined his target list, noted with satisfaction the suffering he had created, and set forth his ideas on the evils of modern society – which he had dedicated his life to increasing. He wants to donate his papers to the Labadie Collection at the University of Michigan, which specializes in anarchism and "other protest movements." (READ MORE)

Mike Gallagher: Global Warming Hypocrites - When I was told I'd be on the Fox News Channel's "Fox & Friends" debating Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. about the contentious issue of oil consumption and Barack Obama's refusal to consider offshore drilling or nuclear energy, I really looked forward to the exchange. After all, how many times does one have a chance to have a frank and open exchange with one of the true high priests of the shrill global warming crowd? Meeting him in the Fox News Channel's green room before the appearance, I began to have some concerns. I'm the kind of guy who likes to have a little friendly banter, even with someone I disagree with. Mr. Kennedy pretty clearly does not, at least not with me. I asked him how his uncle Ted was doing, joked about us being invited to be on the "early morning" shift that day (our appearance aired at 6:15am), and did everything I could to try and establish that, contrary to the way many liberals believe, a conservative like me doesn't have any horns or fangs. (READ MORE)

Charles Krauthammer: Critical Thinking on Energy - WASHINGTON -- Gas is $4 a gallon. Oil is $135 a barrel and rising. We import two-thirds of our oil, sending hundreds of billions of dollars to the likes of Russia, Venezuela and Saudi Arabia. And yet we voluntarily prohibit ourselves from even exploring huge domestic reserves of petroleum and natural gas. At a time when U.S. crude oil production has fallen 40 percent in the last 25 years, 75 billion barrels of oil have been declared off-limits, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. That would be enough to replace every barrel of non-North American imports (oil trade with Canada and Mexico is a net economic and national security plus) for 22 years. That's nearly a quarter-century of energy independence. The situation is absurd. To which John McCain is responding with a partial fix: Lift the federal ban on Outer Continental Shelf drilling, where a fifth of the off-limits stuff lies. (READ MORE)

Kathleen Parker: Domestic Dustups - WASHINGTON -- The only thing more tedious than doing housework is reading about housework. Yet with the gritty determination of a committed obsessive-compulsive, I plowed through an 8,000-word New York Times Magazine expose on the current state of gender equity in the American home: "When Mom and Dad Share It All." Apparently, men and women are still not equal partners. In fact, they're so unequal that they're more or less stuck in the same trends of 90 years ago, despite our best efforts to get men to be better women and women to be better men. Alas, still foiled. The most recent figures from the University of Wisconsin's National Survey of Families and Households indicate that the average wife does 31 hours of housework a week compared to the average husband's 14. When wives stay home, they do 38 hours of housework a week compared to men's 12. Child care is even more lopsided. (READ MORE)

Patrick J. Buchanan: Was the Holocaust Inevitable? - "What Would Winston Do?" So asks Newsweek's cover, which features a full-length photo of the prime minister his people voted the greatest Briton of them all. Quite a tribute, when one realizes Churchill's career coincides with the collapse of the British empire and the fall of his nation from world pre-eminence to third-rate power. That the Newsweek cover was sparked by my book "Churchill, Hitler and The Unnecessary War" seems apparent, as one of the three essays, by Christopher Hitchens, was a scathing review. Though in places complimentary, Hitchens charmingly concludes: This book "stinks." Understandable. No Brit can easily concede my central thesis: The Brits kicked away their empire. Through colossal blunders, Britain twice declared war on a Germany that had not attacked her and did not want war with her, fought for 10 bloody years and lost it all. Unable to face the truth, Hitchens seeks solace in old myths. (READ MORE)

Michael Reagan: Tear Down That Wall - Prague, Czech Republic, June 18 -- I'm in Europe to join the Reagan Legacy Foundation in observing the 21st anniversary of my dad Ronald Reagan's immortal words spoken at the Berlin Wall on June 12, 1987, when he demanded that Russia's Mikhail Gorbachev demolish the wall, a grim symbol of Soviet oppression of the East German people. Against the advice of his weak-willed, namby-pamby State Department advisers, my dad looked at the wall and electrified Berliners when he said, "General Secretary Gorbachev, if you seek peace, if you seek prosperity for the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, if you seek liberalization: Come here to this gate! Mr. Gorbachev, open this gate! Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!" Just over two years after the speech, the wall did come down; the brutal East German Communist government and the Soviet Union came down with it, and the Brandenburg Gate was opened. (READ MORE)

John Hawkins: Tackling Five Modern Myths Created By Liberals Part 2 - Correcting the myths created and propagated by the liberals in the mainstream media could be an all day, every day job. In fact, there are organizations like the Media Research Center that do just that. However, the mainstream media is so biased to the Left and churns out so many inaccuracies each day, that sometimes even truly enormous myths manage to slip through the cracks and become accepted as fact. Last week, I covered five of those big lies. This week, I'm going to take on five more left-wing fantasies that you've undoubtedly heard repeated over and over again ad nauseam. No weapons of mass destruction were found in Iraq: This one is such an article of faith on the Left that they actually mock people for saying otherwise, but the reality is far different from what they would have you believe. Roughly two years ago, Rick Santorum revealed that over 500 WMDs had been found in Iraq. (READ MORE)

Mona Charen: Oooh, The New Politics - I am so excited by Barack Obama's new politics. Like Chris Matthews, I got a thrill down my leg when the senator announced his candidacy promising a "new kind of politics." As I recall, he said, "Our leaders in Washington seem incapable of working together in a practical, commonsense way. Politics has become so bitter and partisan, so gummed up by money and influence, that we can't tackle the big problems that demand solutions. And that's what we have to change first." Goosebumps! You know how most politicians say one thing and do another? Well, Barack is different. He gave Hillary Clinton quite a dressing down during the primaries in the Rust Belt for having once supported NAFTA, a treaty Barack called "devastating." Obama said he'd use the threat of withdrawal from the treaty as a "hammer" to wring concessions out of Canada and Mexico. (READ MORE)

Jonah Goldberg: That '70s Show - You may have noticed that denouncing the "failed policies of the past" has become the official catechism of the Democratic Party. Heck, it wouldn't surprise me if at DNC headquarters "gesundheit" is out as the polite response to a sneeze and tsk-tsking the rise in nose-tickling particulates thanks to the bankrupt policies of the Bush administration is in. So, you'd think if everything Bush has done is wrong, then a reversal of his position would be right. Wrong again. We didn't hear applause from Democrats this week when President Bush "reversed" his "longstanding position" (in the words of The New York Times) on offshore drilling. Nearly thirty years ago, Jimmy Carter's windfall-profits tax kicked in, making domestic oil exploration more difficult and expensive. In 1981, Congress passed a moratorium on offshore drilling that has stayed in place ever since. In 1990, the first President Bush signed an executive order reinforcing the ban on coastal oil exploration. (READ MORE)

Paul Greenberg: On Suing the Enemy - Nothing so well illustrates the essential asymmetry of this country's worldwide struggle against terrorism than last week's 5-to-4 opinion out of the U.S. Supreme Court. The enemy is fighting a war; we are litigating a plea. Throughout the sleepy Nineties, we dealt with two - two! - earlier and incomplete attacks on the World Trade Center not as the barbaric acts of war they were, but as isolated matters for the criminal justice system to deal with when and if it could. While we slept, the enemy plotted. We paid the bloody price for our obtuseness - in thousands of innocent lives - on September 11, 2001. Now we're proceeding with great deliberation down the same blind alley.How describe this latest opinion from the high court? It's not easy to get a handle on this decision for, against or maybe just vaguely about the exercise (or paralysis) of the president's wartime powers. (READ MORE)

Lisa De Pasquale: Goodnight Moonbat - There are thousands of authors that would sell their souls for a positive 500-word New York Times review of their book. No doubt that many of these authors have groundbreaking books on important issues. Putting those aside, last Sunday the Times featured a children’s book that blatantly copies the classic Goodnight Moon. Its purpose is bashing the Bush Administration, natch. The Times’ Joanne Kaufman writes: The cover of Goodnight Bush looks almost exactly like Goodnight Moon — green and orange, with an image of a window and fireplace — and uses a similar rhyme scheme. But there the thematic similarities end. The authors, Erich Origen and Gan Golan, set their story in “a situation room.” There is no bunny snuggling into bed, but rather George W. Bush grinning and wearing a “Mission Accomplished” flight suit. Instead of three little bears sitting on chairs, there are “war profiteers giving three cheers.” (READ MORE)

Richard H. Collins: The Audacity of Abandonment - If I were a supporter of Barack Obama I would be nervous. Why? Is it his inexperience, his radical connections, or his stale liberal positions? Nope. I would be nervous because he seems fundamentally incapable of sticking with his principles on a host of issues large and small. I know his supporters are enthralled with Mr. Hope and Change, but shouldn’t it worry them that he is so quick to backtrack and hedge his answers – or even switch positions entirely – during the course of a relatively short campaign? What will happen should he feel the real pressure of actual leadership (something he has yet to do in any real capacity)? The most recent example is public financing. When Obama was the underdog fighting against the Clinton machine he promised to work with the GOP nominee and agree to public financing for the general election campaign: (READ MORE)

John McCaslin: Witness to History - This summer's crowning of Illinois Sen. Barack Obama as the country's first African-American presidential nominee will no doubt generate significant headlines around the world. Indeed, news agencies based in 46 countries have announced that they will be sending reporters to cover the Democratic National Convention in mile-high Denver. The convention is scheduled for Aug. 25-28. At least 300 foreign dignitaries, meanwhile, will be on hand for the historic nomination, each invited by the National Democratic Institute. Some 17,000 hotel rooms have already been booked in Denver for convention week. Where's Dan Quayle? "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 [Barack] Obama doesn't already have. (READ MORE)

Further Adventures of Indigo Red: Global Warming, Solar Radiation Linked Say NASA Eggheads - While attempting to understand why the solar corona is so much hotter than Sol's surface, NASA scientists have also confirmed the origins of the global warming phenomenon on Earth. It has long been known that the temperature at the Sun's surface is around 6000 Celsius, while the outer most layer, the corona, is a staggering 2,000,000 Celsius. At those temps, SPF gazillion isn't going to prevent skin damage. The smart guys at the National Space and Aeronautics Administration have proposed two explanations: (READ MORE)

Mary Katherine Ham: Faultless Obamessiah Forced to Discriminate Against Muslims by Right-Wing Bloggers - A look at what can happen to the normally decent reasoning powers of a young person captive to Obama-mania. Did you know it was the imminent threat of Republican 527s and Michelle Malkin using the images of scarved Muslim women against Barack Obama that forced his campaign to refuse seats near Obama to Hebba Aref and Shimaa Abdelfadee? “Fearful that some Republican 527 group, or Michelle Malkin, might grab an image of Barack Obama with two Muslim women wearing headscarves in the background, Barack’s campaign volunteers barred a pair of his supporters from sitting behind the podium at a rally in Detroit, where Al Gore officially endorsed him.” Or, here's another way to look at it: All it took for the Obama campaign to resort to outright religious and racial profiling and discrimination was the potential (though unlikely) threat of a rhetorical attack from a prominent conservative blogger or third-party group. Imagine the profiling we'll see when he's facing the threat of actual terrorism! Watch out, American Muslims! (READ MORE)

Kings of War: Suited for the New Diplomacy? - I am back from my holidays and catching up on my reading. First, I must say thank you, thank you, thank you Ireland. But getting back on topic, the article linked above caught my eye. It seems to reflect a sentiment that work in the field such as on PRTs in Afghanistan, however exciting, just is not what the State Department is about. “One of my U.S. Foreign Service colleagues has a great photo of himself from his time working with a Provincial Reconstruction Team in one of Afghanistans livelier provinces. He’s dressed in khaki, with an MP5 assault rifle slung over his shoulder. When I first saw it, I thought: There’s a lot to say about service like that. Its adventurous. Its courageous. Its patriotic. But is it diplomacy?” Well, what is diplomacy? (READ MORE)

Talisman Gate: When 'Leftie Obamists' Attack - Robert Dreyfuss, the leftie Obamist who in his spare time pretends to be a journalist, attacked Iraq’s Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari on his The Nation-linked blog today and denounced him as a “puppet” for presuming to give leftie candidate Barack Obama a much-needed geography lesson on Iraq. Marc Lynch, another leftie Obamist—he of that curious knack for passing the original thoughts of others as his own—summoned the meager reserves of Iraq ‘expertise’ at his disposal to peg Zebari as the “epitome of Green Zone elite” while commenting on Dreyfuss’s piece. Zebari’s four brothers were executed by the Saddam regime. Zebari has endured the crappy life—and I mean really, really crappy life—of guerrilla warfare in the service of the Kurdish cause. He was then tasked with being the international face of this cause, leading a thankless life full of dearth, aggravation and bone-crushing despair... (READ MORE)

Information Dissemination: Observing the Resistance to the Paradigm Shift in the DoD - On Wednesday we highlighted an article in the Washington Quarterly by Michael J. Mazarr, a professor of national security strategy at the U.S. National War College. Aptly named The Folly of 'Asymmetric War' we believe this article is very important to the national defense strategy discussion regarding the Paradigm Shift in the DoD towards asymmetrical warfare. The article represents a well articulated position for the resistance movement to that shift that is sure to be cited in future research. The article well represents the pre-9/11 position favored by Donald Rumsfeld that the US military should altogether avoid peacekeeping operations. The article forwards a perspective that idealogical factors override other conditions that limit the capability of military power to influence an outcome, thus advocates the "use of social, economic, political, informational, and psychological tools of statecraft" as the means to address asymmetrical threats driven by ideology. (READ MORE)

Dr. iRack: The Promise of Peace - Approximately 1,200 Iraqi forces (with U.S. troops and warplanes supporting them) have launched the government's fourth major operation in recent months (dubbed "Promise of Peace") in the southern border city of Amara (the capital of Maysan province). As a consequence of negotiations with local leaders prior to the offensive, reports suggest that Iraqi troops faced little resistance. (Members of the Sadr movement also traveled to Amara to monitor the sweep in an attempt to avoid a repeat of the escalation following the Basra operation). Amara has not been particularly violent in recent years, but control of the city is seen as important to reduce the flow of weapons and Iranian-trained fighters into Iraq. Iraqi officials have said the operations will soon move outside of Amara into the region's marshes, long a sanctuary for criminals and smugglers. (READ MORE)

Troy: How Do You Solve A Problem Like the Pashtun? - Charlie: Thank you for the introduction and the welcome. Against the backdrop of the joint Afghan & Canadian operations against Taliban fighters near Kandahar it seems appropriate to take a look at the current issue of International Security which has two articles on Afghanistan. Each takes a look at a different aspect of the roots of the security challenges there and provides some competing policy recommendations for the US and its allies. The Arguments - First off, in "The Rise of Afghanistan’s Insurgency," Seth Jones explores the emergence of the insurgency in Afghanistan in the wake of Operation Enduring Freedom. Jones argues that the dominant explanations for the emergence of internal conflict/civil wars offered by the social science literature (grievances, particularly of the ethnic variety and economic opportunism) do not apply to Afghanistan. (READ MORE)

Army Girl: More Better - I'm going to blog tonight, even though I don't really want to. So here it goes. Where do I start? Oh yes, the soldier update. He's doing MUCH better. The doctors removed the two epidurals from his body today. They are going to let him outside of the hospital for the first time this weekend. He and his wife are excited. Imagine being couped up in a small hospital room for all of that time. His wife stayed by his side every single night, only leaving for a few hours when I stopped by to pick her up. They've found some more injuries that they weren't aware of. He will need major dental work on top of a monitoring of his vocal chord. The arm is healing and the metal rods and pieces in his clavicle and arm are not giving him any trouble. He truly got crushed in the rollover. His list of injuries is quite substantial. (READ MORE)

This Ain't Hell: Gopher vs. Supreme Court - I’m sure you all remember Fred Grandy who played the character “Gopher” on the TV series “Love Boat”. You probably know he went on to become a Republican Congressman, and now he has a conservative radio program here in DC on WMAL 630 with a co-host Andy Parks, a local radio icon. The other day, Fred took on the Supreme Court’s decision to grant Fifth Amendment rights to terrorists in a remarkable essay on the subject; “…it was 1950 and the Supreme Court ruled in Johnson v. Eisentrager that non-Americans (in this case German nationals) held in a prison in then American-occupied Germany did not have a Fifth Amendment right of habeas corpus. In fact in a 6-3 decision the high court held that to rule otherwise would effectively give enemy aliens engaged in ‘unlawful hostile action against us’ immunity from military trials, putting them in a more protected position than our own American soldiers. Here’s how they expressed it.” (READ MORE)

DJ Drummond: Let Not Your Heart be Troubled - Or Fooled By Polls - I saw an article by The Anchoress (who apparently did not read my dicsussion of the Quinnipiac poll) regarding the apparent dominance by Democrats in polling. Her theory is that because voting by Democrats was so heavy in the Spring, this means that Democrats will dominate voting in the fall. Mmmmmmmmmm ... no, that's not really a good description of the situation. Polls are not quite the magic ball they are hyped to be. For example, take a look back in 2004. Kerry got a lot of excitement among Democrats because he had strong primary support, and a lot of pundits were saying this meant trouble for the fall. Then 62 million voters decided they preferred President Bush for another term, defying the media's proclaimed scenario. And while I will grant that 2008 is different from 2004, human nature is notoriously hard to change. For this election, that means the following points will continue to matter: (READ MORE)

Ron Winter: Semper Means Always; And Always Means Forever - I have used that line, the headline for this post, in speeches to veterans, students, community groups, organizations and even incoming Marine recruits for decades now, but it has never held more meaning for me than in the last few days. One point that needs to be made before I progress: This is not about politics, this is about the heart and soul of being a United States Marine, forever, from the day the term is finally earned and applied to a new class of graduates, until the day a Marine dies; in battle, of other causes, or long, long down the road, way after the wearing of the uniform is no longer required, but the plainclothes Marine continues, down in the heart, down in the soul, always in the spirit. This week Marine Lt. Col. Jeffrey Chessani was the seventh of eight Marines who were falsely charged with murdering civilians during a day-long battle in Haditha, Iraq, in late 2005, to be cleared of those charges. (READ MORE)

Winds of Change: The Occulted Candidate - I haven’t posted in quite awhile. I’ve been working on a sociocultural theory about Islam, and finally ran into a brick wall behind which lies the data I need to prove and refine the theory. I can’t get at it, because I don’t have the proper bona fides. I don’t mean the right degrees, but the “correct” bias. I might lead people away from the multicultural light. So I haven’t been paying all that much attention to the electoral contest. This, even though I did my dissertation on elections. And then this irritating fellow on a forum I visit started posting links to right wing websites with outrageous claims that Barack Obama was some sort of occulted Muslim. Now that’s a romantic notion, but the claims weren’t very specific so they often couldn’t be vetted, and I just figured it to be a smear. Besides, Americans wouldn’t care if he were nominally designated a Muslim while he was forming elephants out of play doh anyway. (READ MORE)

Sigmund, Carl and Alfred: “…the way I THINK has changed” - The Atlantic: “Even a blog post of more than three or four paragraphs is too much to absorb. I skim it.” Is Google making us stupid? “Dave, stop. Stop, will you? Stop, Dave. Will you stop, Dave?” So the supercomputer HAL pleads with the implacable astronaut Dave Bowman in a famous and weirdly poignant scene toward the end of Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey. Bowman, having nearly been sent to a deep-space death by the malfunctioning machine, is calmly, coldly disconnecting the memory circuits that control its artificial brain. “Dave, my mind is going,” HAL says, forlornly. “I can feel it. I can feel it.” I can feel it, too. Over the past few years I’ve had an uncomfortable sense that someone, or something, has been tinkering with my brain, remapping the neural circuitry, reprogramming the memory. My mind isn’t going—so far as I can tell—but it’s changing. I’m not thinking the way I used to think. (READ MORE)

Ilya Somin: The Milton Friedman Institute and Ideological Intolerance in Academia - The University of Chicago has decided to establish an economics research institute named after the late Milton Friedman. Normally, a university's decision to name an institute after it's most famous and successful professor would be a completely uncontroversial nonstory. However, over 100 University of Chicago professors have signed a letter protesting the decision. Essentially, they object to naming a research institute after Friedman because he was a libertarian rather than a liberal or leftist - even though Friedman's academic distinction is such that he clearly deserves the honor. It is inconceivable that you could find 100 academics at Chicago or any other major university who would sign a letter opposing the creation of an institute named after a liberal academic whose intellectual achievement's were as great as Friedman's. (READ MORE)

Elizabeth Tuttle: “Green Fatigue” and “Eco Anxiety” - It’s not just the palpable frustration with Greenpeace solicitors on Broadway this summer — according to an article in the most recent New York Times Sunday Styles section, people are too overwhelmed by the command to be “green” to do much about it anymore. The piece explored an emerging syndrome caused by “green noise.” It found that the barrage of (often contradictory) messages about what is “sustainable” and what is not — endlessly splayed across the media — have not caused more eco-awareness, but rather a vast sense of consumer helplessness and inactivity: “A study by the Shelton Group, an advertising agency and market research company based in Knoxville, Tenn., that focuses on environmental products, showed that consumers surveyed in 2007 were between 22 and 55 percent less likely to buy a wide range of green products than in 2006.” (READ MORE)

Cassandra: Since I'm Feeling Feisty Today.... - ...perhaps someone can explain something that has been bothering me. In the comments to one of my Boumediene posts, Rick observed: “Since Congress exercised its Constitutional power to limit what SCOTUS considers, I would simply announce that SCOTUS overstepped its bounds and violated the Constitution by not deferring to legislative superiority on this question. Therefore, he, Bush, would continue with the present arrangement until or unless Congress sent new legislation changing the current procedures. Sure, that would be a Constitutional crisis, but SCOTUS precipitated the crisis. It would do them good to hear a ‘no’. I didn't see where Justice Kennedy even addressed this. Souter attempted to provide a lame reference, but he was not at all persuasive. He simply claimed SCOTUS was paying attention to a different part of the Constitution.” This excessive genuflection to the Black Nine has been bothering me quite a bit, too. Just why everyone should be inclined to perform the Thousand Prostrations simply because yet another imperial edict, informed by the kind of toffee nosed legal opinion that results from strolling down the Champs Elysees at midnight with a badly rolled Gauloise and a pocketful of anomie ,has once again been handed down from on high continues to elude me. (READ MORE)

Texas Rainmaker: The Hope For More (Loose) Change - Barack Obama is wasting no time touting his experience as a politician. He’s been the presumptive Democrat nominee for barely 2 weeks and already he’s showing expert skill at breaking campaign promises. “Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama said Thursday he’ll bypass the federal public financing system in the general election, abandoning an earlier commitment to take the money if his Republican rival did as well. Obama, who set records raising money in the primary election, will forgo more than $84 million that would have been available to him in the general election. He would be the first candidate to do so since Congress passed 1970s post-Watergate campaign finance laws.” Obama is proving his political expertise by telling voters whatever is convenient at the moment to gain support. But this is the same guy who not only agreed not to opt out of the public financing system, but also promised to “aggressively pursue an agreement with the Republican nominee to preserve a publicly financed general election.” (READ MORE)

Warner Todd Huston: Jailed for Blogging - Bloggers are being arrested more and more as the importance of the Internet is realized by governments across the world, at least so warns the BBC. It seems an alarming report where community activists and democracy advocates are finding themselves being oppressed by government, arrested, and maybe even tortured because of their blogging. But, one little fact of the story is never really focussed on in this alarming BBC report on the release of the WIA report from the University of Washington. The fact that bloggers aren’t threatened much in democratic nations has been glossed over by this report. Unfortunately, a cursory reading of this piece would leave the reader with the vague feeling that people all over the world are being arrested merely because they are blogging, but that isn’t quite the case. (READ MORE)

McQ: The politics of drilling - It may loom large in this election. As it now stands, Obama is staunchly in the "we won’t drill" camp. “‘Opening our coastlines to offshore drilling would take at least a decade to produce any oil at all, and the effect on gasoline prices would be negligible at best since America only has 3 percent of the world’s oil,’” Obama said in a statement that did not explicitly distinguish between oil and gas drilling. It is the same old tired argument that has been used for not drilling in ANWR. But most people won’t buy it this time because they realize that had we drilled in ANWR 10 years ago, that oil would be now flowing, and helping the situation. Had we pursued such a policy on the OCS, at the same time, we most likely wouldn’t be in the crunch we are now. And even though it is government that has put the vast majority of drilling off limits for decades, Obama finds a way to blame Bush and big oil for the present energy problem: (READ MORE)

Scott Johnson: A messiah flush with cash - Barack Obama's renunciation of public financing for his general election campaign against John McCain makes perfect sense. Drawing on a vast array of voluntary contributors, Obama stands to raise several hundred million dollars and outspend John McCain by a margin of three or four or five to one. In doing so he is exploiting advantages he holds over McCain in organization and enthusiasm. He would be a fool to forgo it. Except for the unnecessarily dishonest explanation that accompanied his announcement, there is nothing wrong with abandoning his pledge (noted in the AP article on Obama's announcement) to seek an agreement with McCain regarding public financing of the general election. If McCain could match Obama's fundraising, he surely would choose to do so. He is no more a fool than Obama is. That he cannot match Obama's campaign in organization, fundraising or enthusiasm is no credit to McCain. (READ MORE)

Paul Mirengoff: At last, a decent FISA deal that's likely to pass - Democratic and Republican leaders in Congress have agreed to a rewrite of FISA that would, in the words of the Wall Street Journal, "ensure that much of the controversial surveillance operation created by President Bush in secret will outlast his administration." The rewrite deals with two central issues: (1) the acquisition of intelligence from foreign terrorist suspects reasonably believed to be outside the U.S. and (2) immunity for telecommunication companies that cooperate in the acquisition of such intelligence. The intelligence gathering provisions appear to be adequate, though I haven't studied them in detail. The legislation includes provisions to prevent the law from being used as a pretext to targeting U.S. citizens. Targeting procedures will be subject to review at least annually by the FISA court. (READ MORE)

Yankeemom: Stunned - I have just been deer-in-the-headlights stunned by all that has transpired this past week in our country. It is still our country, isn’t it? I didn’t realize that it was in our Constitution that our enemies who try really hard to kill our troops should have all the rights given to our citizens. Silly me. But then people who come into this country illegally are given all sorts of rights and benefits I thought were only for those who are citizens of this country. Apparently, I was mistaken. The democrats really support the troops. Well, they keep saying so…even though in the next breath, they say how the wars the troops are fighting are complete boondoggles and there is little if any progress, or call them cold blooded murderers, or that they just can’t get the job done, that they are broken and all suffering from PTSD and will become suicidal or at worst, murderers here after they return home. (READ MORE)

GayPatriotWest: More Narrow-minded Prejudice against Gay Republicans - This morning, while surfing the web, I chanced on yet another piece on a left-wing site attacking gay Republicans. This writer, the Huffington Post’s Gene Stone, must have thought himself particularly clever when he came up with the title for his April 2006 post, The Gay Republican: Oxymoron, or Just Moron?. But, all he really did was prove himself yet another liberal looking at gay Republicans and/or conservatives and insulting us without taking one moment to understand us. A man who prefers name-calling to thought or research. Like Charles Kaiser, he just didn’t bother to contact any gay Republicans before writing his piece. Well, maybe he did, he just didn’t quote them in his 700-word diatribe. He makes some pretty sweeping generalizations and some pretty particular accusations such as “state republican (sic) parties have specifically told gay men and women they are not welcome in the party.” (READ MORE)

Ed Morrissey: Meet The Unimpressive? - According to Page 6 at the New York Post, two potential contenders to succeed Tim Russert at Meet the Press have not exactly used subtlety to position themselves. Chris Matthews and Keith Olbermann supposedly began plotting at Russert’s memorial to grab at the open seat, but could anyone — even Matthews and Olbermann — possibly be this clueless? “Tim Russert’s body wasn’t even cold in the ground before MSNBC anchors Chris Matthews and Keith Olbermann started jockeying for his job, sources claim. Matthews was heard loudly discussing what seemed to be his strategy for landing Russert’s ‘Meet the Press’ show at Wednesday’s memorial reception for the NBC Washington bureau chief at the Kennedy Center in DC. After Brian Williams, Carl Bernstein, David Gergen, Barbara Walters and NBC brass eulogized their friend, Matthews huddled with an unidentified ‘agent type’ and seemed to be plotting.” (READ MORE)

Allahpundit: It’s on: Lawsuit filed to halt production of SC’s Christian vanity plates - For those about to rock, I salute you. No, seriously, cliched though it may be, legal clashes over inanities like this are always gratifying as a reminder of how successful America’s been in keeping church and state separate and settling in the most mundane way the sort of dispute that gets people’s throats slit in other countries. And needless to say, it’s always fascinating to watch great principles decided on the dumbest conceivable fact patterns. “Americans United for Separation of Church and State today filed a lawsuit in federal district court on behalf of several religious leaders and a religious organization whose First Amendment rights are violated by South Carolina’s ‘I Believe’ license plate…” (READ MORE)

Fjordman: The Greatest Betrayal in History - The scale of violent crime white people are being subject to in countries such as Sweden resembles warfare. Not only does the state not protect people against this racist violence, it actively sides with the attackers. Which means that the social contract is now dead and buried in most Western countries. The state is either expensive and irrelevant or it is an outright enemy. The numbers in Sweden, and no doubt elsewhere, are worse than we are told. They are being heavily manipulated by the authorities and the media, who claim that the massive increase in rapes is caused by: “A. The warm weather/global warming, B. Alcohol, C. Internet dating sites, and D. A technical increase due to the fact that women suddenly report rape more frequently than before.” These are the explanations that are mentioned. There is no other. Suggesting that it has something to do with mass immigration of alien cultures is quite literally banned by law. A Swedish man was arrested, brought in front of the local court and sentenced for “hate speech” for carrying a sign during a demonstration suggesting that rape was linked to immigration. (READ MORE)

Flopping Aces: While we’re on the subject of nationalized oil… - While the comments are flying hot and heavy over on the Bush to Congress thread, today’s Investment Business Daily editorial is a side dish complement. The op-ed cuts right thru the mustard, and calls out the DNC on their absurd - and dangerous - suggestions to nationalize the oil industry. Believe it or not… there’s nothing I can add to make this better. (is that a sigh of relief I hear out there???) So RTFA… :0) Here’s the first paragraphs to titillate you into the complete read. Oh yeah… for those that think the oil industry is really screwing it up, there’s a pertinent truth waiting for you near the end: 93% of the world’s oil reserves are controlled either directly, or indirectly, by government. uh huh… let’s add another one to the fray, right DW? “In the kind of ‘oops!’ moments politicians have when they say something they wish they hadn’t, two House Democrats have recently suggested nationalizing the U.S. oil industry.” (READ MORE)

Jeffrey Imm: Jihad Against Freedom of Speech at the United Nations - The United Nations' Human Rights Council (UNHRC) has no problem with its members suggesting that the 9/11 attacks were an "inside job" perpetrated by the United States on itself. The human rights of America's 9/11 victims are not a priority for UNHRC's Richard Falk, the special rapporteur on human rights in the Palestinian territories, who engages in 9/11 conspiracy propaganda, while working for an organization headquartered in New York City funded by U.S. tax dollars. This is Richard Falk's protected freedom of speech. Denying the role of Jihadists in the 9/11 attacks is apparently perfectly acceptable freedom of speech for the UNHRC, but criticizing Sharia law is another story. On June 16, 2008, UNHRC president Doru Romulus Costea announced that criticism of Sharia law will not be tolerated by the UNHRC, based on the complaints and pressure by Islamist delegates to the UNHRC. (READ MORE)

Don Surber: We won - Democrats capitulate on Iraq funding in an election year. Suddenly the reason for the presidential campaign of Democratic Sen. Barack Obama has been removed. Surrendering in Iraq is no longer an option. Americans sense victory. Which is why the House approved another $162 billion in funding the war so quietly. Democrats do not want to bring any attention to the allied victory in Iraq. Democrats fear getting tossed out on their ears by voters for being wrong on this issue. The Surrender Wing of the Democratic Party tried to put a smiley face on it. From the AP: “‘The way it’s been set up now, whoever … is president will have a few months to think through how we are going to extricate ourselves,’ said House Appropriations Committee Chairman David Obey, D-Wis., a key negotiator.” (READ MORE)

The Belmont Club: Thinking the unthinkable - One of the more embarrassing aspects of the Cold War, which we can acknowledge without undue shame in retrospect, was that the safety of both superpowers depended on collective punishment. The vast arsenals of nuclear warheads on both sides, especially in the early days of missile guidance, were aimed not at military bases or government centers. They were not aimed at the White House, the Capitol or the Kremlin. They were aimed at the cities in which millions of civilians lived. Another word for the sonorous term of "deterrence" was holding the enemy nation's population accountable for the actions of the leaders. Elbridge A. Colby at the Hoover Institution Public Policy review revisits collective responsibility in the age of possible nuclear terror in his article, "Expanded Deterrence: Broadening the threat of retaliation". His thesis, as you might have guessed, is that to prevent deniable nuclear attacks it is necessary not to listen to denials. (READ MORE)

Todd Zywicki: Academia and Religion - When it comes to the attitude of academics toward religion, I suspect that the truth is probably closer to the view articulated by Rick Hills or Ilya than to Eugene's more charitable view. In particular, what the data (and personal experience) indicate is that the views of academics toward religion is not uniform. In particular, academics have a highly negative view of Evangelical Christians and very little hostility to Jews. According to a study by the Institute of Jewish and Community Research, 53% of professors have an unfavorable view of Evangelical Christians but only 3% have an unfavorable view of Jews. A summary of the study is here. 33% have unfavorable views of Mormons. Muslims, Atheists, and Catholics all score in double-digits. Who would've thought that 13% of academics have unfavorable views of Catholics? (READ MORE)

Confederate Yankee: The Real "Dead-Enders" - It has been fascinating—and often more than a little infuriating—to watch the anti-Administration wing of the anti-war movement over the past year. I'd like to first make that distinction clear: there are those who are against the concept of warfare to resolve conflicts, and those that are against this war in specific because they have an acute loathing for their domestic political opposition, led by the current President. Make no mistake: so many of those who presently claim to be anti-war now would change their position on military intervention in an heartbeat if it meant intervening in Darfur or (_fill_in_the_blank_), if it satisfied their political desires and could be painted as a "humanitarian" mission. Those politically-motivated progressives that see anti-war sentiment as little more than a way to grab power via the ballot box have been most aggravating and occasionally amusing. (READ MORE)

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