February 11, 2009

Web Reconnaissance for 02/11/2009

A short recon of what’s out there that might draw your attention, updated throughout the day...so check back often.

MRS. LIEUTENANT: HBO Films’ TAKING CHANCE Is an Amazing Story - I’ve just had the opportunity to see HBO Films’ TAKING CHANCE before its air date of February 21st. And I’m at a loss for words. The film is based on the true story of Marine Lt. Colonel Michael Strobl volunteering for escort duty to take home the remains of 19-year-old Marine Lance Corporal Chance Phelps. During this overwhelming experience Lt. Colonel Strobl wrote a journal account of his escort duty. This account originally circulated via the internet, and I remember reading the account with tissues clutched in my hands. So I was prepared with an entire box of tissues for watching the film. The film’s director Ross Katz wrote the screenplay with Michael Strobl, who is now retired from the Marine Corps, while Kevin Bacon played Lt. Colonel Strobl. (READ MORE)

Gary Graham: The Seduction of Insanity - I must be stupid. I’m sorry, but I just don’t get it. Clearly, I am just too simple minded to understand the efficacy of the so-called Stimulus Bill. I run the idea past my Common Sense center in my cerebral cortex and all I hear is a dial tone. And if I get really quiet … I can hear a distant scream. I’ve watched President Obama make his case on national television. I keep waiting for the entire Washington press corps to bust up laughing. I keep waiting for news anchors to crack up mid-sentence and not be able to continue, doubled over. I keep waiting for an incensed public to storm Pennsylvania Avenue and demand their money back. But then … I must be stupid. (READ MORE)

Lonewolf Diaries: “Christian Obama-Voters,” The Ultimate Oxymoron - Firstly, this column is NOT designed to push any particular religion but is aimed at creating an objective discussion of theistic leftists, so all of you hedonistic, hellbound heathens can rest easy. We’ve all heard it. Obama consistently professes to be a “committed Christian” and often describes the “importance of his faith.” Let me be the first to say that I’ve had plenty of friends from the “religious right” and have had quite a bit of time to observe their shenanigans. I’ve never once observed them claim to be Christians one second only to accuse their Christian brethren of “clinging to guns and religion” the next. I’ve also never watched them conduct a Bible study one minute only to moments afterward, go on a baby killing tirade (see the latest video). Let’s just lay it out there. Most Christians tend to value the lives of the unborn, fight to preserve the “sanctity of marriage” and believe in personal freedom/limited government. (READ MORE)

Victor Davis Hanson: More on the New Horizon - Such a Strange Malady - A strange thing, this Obama worship (cf. the New York Times op-ed on Sunday where the columnist imagined having sexual relations with Obama) and Bush hatred (cf. the Will Farrell Broadway show trashing Bush, and showing images of his purported penis). They are flipside manifestations of the same sickness that has taken hold of a large subset of the population. Millions seems to think by demonizing A and worshipping B, then once intractable problems (that transcend both A’s faults and B’s merits) suddenly, magically will disappear. But the apocalyptic style is quite dangerous, and the 20th century should have told us that answers are not found through fixating evil on “them” and seeking a “He” to address it. In the meantime, civility is prized, and one should criticize Obama in a spirit and tone that are the exact opposites of the way in which Bush was demonized. That said, stranger, read on: (READ MORE)

Shannon Love: Discovering Their Own Prejudice - So, a white, Catholic, leftist, college student dresses as a Muslim woman in small-town Alabama to examine predjuces against Muslims. [h/t Instapundit] Instead she finds: “‘ I expected people to say, “What is this terrorist doing here? We don’t want your kind here,” said Woldt, a 22-year-old blue-eyed Catholic, recalling her anticipation before stepping into a local barbecue joint. ‘I thought I wouldn’t even be served.’” Instead, Woldt’s experiment in social anthropology opened her own eyes. Apart from the initial glances reserved for any outsider who might venture through a small-town restaurant’s doors, her experience was a pleasant one. What Woldt discovered was not the prejudices of the small-town, southern, white American but instead the prejudices and stereotypes of contemporary leftist academia. Woldt expected to find prejudice not because she had already seen it but because her education indoctrinated her to expect it in others. This little incident opens a window on the insular, elitist and bigoted world of leftists in contemporary academia. (READ MORE)

Just The Library Keeper: I miss basic training... or boot camp... - One was hiding in a herd of others and just had to keep moving at the Drill Sergeant's pace to graduation. When I was looking to buy a semi automatic rifle I thought about the M14 (currently known as the M1A) the one I had carried in Basic, Leadership Preparation Course, Advanced Individual Training, Officer Candidate School (Fort Benning's School for Boys) and then to my first overseas tour, Korea. Hmm, when did the M16 creep into my military life? Vietnam for sure, but weren't we still armed with M14s for the funeral details in Oklahoma and Texas in 1969? Not sure, maybe it will come to me - tomorrow, when it won't be fleeing furiously. I could have purchased the M1A Springfield, but I have the DVDs Band of Brothers, Finding Private Ryan and Flags of Our Fathers, and the real kicker was Billy Jack had one in one of his movies (no I don't remember which). (READ MORE)

Jammie Wearing Fool: How Many Jobs Does This Create, Barry? - The president in training pants is at the helm of a train that is taking the express route to hell and taking this country with it, and he just keeps on pouring on the coal. I don't think any president has done so much to hurt this country in such a short period of time. To his list of shameful acts in regards to Gitmo and the handling of the terrorists housed there, and his unbelievably socialistic spending program, add backtracking on exploring and tapping our own natural resources. Just earlier today he told his adoring masses that he wanted to wean us off of our dependence on foreign oil. Well, apparently he wants to get us off of domestic oil too. This is San Fran Nan's response to Barry O rolling back the order that President Bush had approved for exploring off shore oil reserves. (READ MORE)

No Looking Backwards: Granite State Economic Stimulus Proposal - With all the talk going on about excessive, unnecessary pork-barrel spending masquerading as economic stimulus, it was quite refreshing to wake up this morning and read about an elected official right here in New England, who's stepping up to the plate and offering an alternative proposal that will actually do something to strengthen the New Hampshire economy. So, please join me right now in thanking...Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick. Governor Deval Patrick is considering raising the state's gasoline tax by as much as 29 cents per gallon, which would at once give Massachusetts the highest state gas tax in the country while generating enough revenue to potentially rid the Massachusetts Turnpike of tolls. "Take this gas tax, and I'll make the tolls disappear." (READ MORE)

McQ: Obama: Spinning Tax Cuts And Doing It Badly - My favorite line from the other night's Obama presser: “Now, just in terms of the historic record here, the Republicans were brought in early and were consulted. And you'll remember that when we initially introduced our framework, they were pleasantly surprised and complimentary about the tax cuts that were presented in that framework. Those tax cuts are still in there. I mean, I suppose what I could have done is started off with no tax cuts, knowing that I was going to want some, and then let them take credit for all of them. And maybe that's the lesson I learned.” Maybe that is a lesson he's learned. Always nice to see your chief executive engaged in on-the-job training, no? But more importantly, I enjoyed the spin. "Republicans were brought in early and were consulted". That's a bit of a stretch. (READ MORE)

Marc Ambinder: Why They Kept Secret - The State Secret Privilege is perhaps the most powerful executive tool available for any president to use, and thus the Obama administration's decision to preserve its invocation, in Mohamed v. Jeppesen, was immediately interpreted by the vocal civil libertarian community as a betrayal of its basic principles. During the campaign, Obama had criticized its use to preemptively dismiss civil lawsuits against the government. Adding to the current agitation, Obama aides have been silent about its reasoning and the process. But based on interviews with current administration officials involved in the case, with Bush administration officials, as well as with national security law experts, a clearer explanation emerges. Officials decided that it would be imprudent to reverse course so abruptly because they realized they didn't yet have a full picture of the intelligence methods and secrets that underlay the privilege's assertions: (READ MORE)

This Ain't Hell: Crybaby awaits fate - I mentioned Cliff Cornell last week when the deserter from the Army was booted from Canada and spent his first night in jail in Bellingham, WA. Well, apparently, after a three day bus ride, he’s arrived in Savannah, GA and he burst into tears at the thought of having to pay for his irresponsible behavior (WMAZ 13); “Cliff Cornell’s tough exterior dissolves into tears as he prepares to return to the Army four years after he fled to Canada to avoid the war in Iraq. The 29-year-old Cornell of Mountain Home, Ark., plans to turn himself in to military police today at Fort Stewart, where he’ll likely face criminal charges for abandoning his unit before it deployed to Iraq in January 2005. He says he fled because the war has failed to improve the lives of Iraqi civilians, and he couldn’t stomach the thought of killing.” Touches your heart doesn’t it? He joined the Army in 2002 and, became an artilleryman (a very peaceful occupation) and went AWOL in 2005. (READ MORE)

Shawn Mallow: Late Thoughts On Obama's Speech - We all knew this bill would pass the Senate with RINOs like Specter, Snow, and Collins. But Obama feels as if he needs some pathetic form of validation in the form of adoration from the American people. Thus, his lame attempts Monday to evoke spirits of yesteryear. Seeing support for his Godzilla of spending bills drop like ashes from one of his Newport Lights (support among the American people for the current bill is now down to 20%), President Obama tried to re-kindle his 4 year (ugh) campaign, holding 2 town hall-style meetings: One in Elkhart, Indiana, and the other with his White House press corp groupies. Only one tough question was asked of him, and that was by a lone dissenter from the batch kool-aiders in Elkhart, and she got booed for daring to question the 'bama. As for the White House press corp, it seemed as if they didn't know how to act, let alone do their jobs. (READ MORE)

William Teach: The Dhimmitude Of Britain Continues: Geert Wilders Banned - This begs the question, how soon will sites like The Jawa Report, Little Green Footballs, and the Counterterrorism Blog be banned in Britain? Dutch protest Britain’s ban of right-wing lawmaker: “The British government has banned Dutch right-wing lawmaker Geert Wilders from visiting the country to show his anti-Islam film “Fitna” at the Houses of Parliament. Wilders was invited by a member of British Parliament’s upper house, the House of Lords, to show his 15-minute film, which criticizes the Quran as a ‘fascist book.’ But he was informed Tuesday in a letter from the British Embassy he would not be allowed into Britain. The film sparked violent protests around the Muslim world last year for linking Quranic verses with footage of terrorist attacks. ‘Don’t tell people our religion is violent, or we will get violent.’” (READ MORE)

Warner Todd Huston: After Generations, CNN Suddenly Discovers That ‘Alaska families struggle to survive’ - The winter in Alaska has been a particularly harsh one this year. The early winter piled on top of economic hard times has caused some troubles for native people and those that live in remote areas in Alaska. But this is not a new tale of woe, it IS Alaska, after all. While nothing to entirely dismiss, one wonders, why CNN suddenly found this story so compelling? Could it be that they want to portray Alaska Governor Sarah Palin as just as harsh as the winter? Native peoples and their neighbors in Alaska have been surviving for generations in the same manner. They hunt, fish, and store foods in the summer to survive the harshness of winter, and since becoming a state, they marshall their money to buy fuel and other items brought to them by American ingenuity. Not an easy life, but a life they are used to nonetheless. It hasn’t really changed much for a long time in that remote part of the world. Yet, despite the sameness of it all, suddenly CNN finds Alaskans are “struggling to survive.” (READ MORE)

Melanie Phillips Blog: Britain capitulates to terror - If anyone had doubted the extent to which Britain has capitulated to Islamic terror, the banning of Geert Wilders a few hours ago should surely open their eyes. Wilders, the Dutch member of parliament who had made an uncompromising stand against the Koranic sources of Islamist extremism and violence, was due to give a screening of Fitna, his film on this subject, at the House of Lords on Thursday. This meeting had been postponed after Lord Ahmed had previously threatened the House of Lords authorities that he would bring a force of 10,000 Muslims to lay siege to the Lords if Wilders was allowed to speak. To their credit, the Lords authorities had stood firm and said extra police would be drafted in to meet this threat and the Wilders meeting should go ahead. But now the government has announced that it is banning Wilders from the country. (READ MORE)

ShrinkWrapped: Neuropsychology and Barack Obama's Opportunities - There is an interesting article in Seed magazine that may appear to be a bit arcane on the surface but in its attempt to explain some of the latest Neuropsychological data (which incidentally supports some basic Psychoanalytic concepts, though I will refrain from saying "I told you so") sheds light on one of the more serious political problems facing the current administration: [...] Barack Obama emerged onto the national stage after a lifelong immersion in left-liberal milieus. It is not yet clear how deeply he incorporated that world view or how solidly his world view has crystallized. If he believes the kinds of soft-left pablum he offers (that changing our tone with our enemies will induce them to give up what they consider their strategic interests) we are in for a most dangerous time. He is already being tested and though many will be unhappy to hear it, a number of our adversaries are overtly racist. (READ MORE)

Scott Johnson: The fourth wave of liberalism - Anyone seriously trying to understand American politics must reckon with what Claremont Review of Books editor Charles Kesler has called "the three waves of liberalism," beginning with Woodrow Wilson. Kesler characterizes the three waves as political liberalism, economic liberalism, and cultural liberalism. In the version of the lecture in which I first heard Kesler discuss the three waves, he associated Franklin Roosevelt with the second wave and LBJ with the third wave. In the only published version of the lecture that I have been able to locate, Kesler does not discuss LBJ. Rather, in his discussion of the third wave Kesler discusses Bill Clinton. When you get to Kesler's discussion of the third wave, however, you may want to think about how LBJ inaugurated it. One point made by Kesler in the original version of the lecture is that succeeding liberal presidents deepen and extend the innovations of their forebears, picking up from where they left off. (READ MORE)

Knee Deep in the Hooah!: Who is this “we” I keep reading about? - They are not talking about me. I am not a socialist. Socialism is nothing more than a very tightly run Oligarachy, and an excuse for 2% of the population to have 99% of the wealth and control all of the assets and resources. Make no mistake there are very rich people who always exist in socialist countries, and guess who they are. Not if, but when they start rationing our stuff and telling us who is worthy of health care and who isn’t, I can guarantee you that Bush, Biden, Obama and the rest of them will not be standing in line worrying nor will they be wondering if their loved one will get vital medical treatment — it will be the working class suckers. I have never said a negative word about Bush when it comes to the war, but I will tell you this… he sold us out big time when he laid down his free market principles. (READ MORE)

Jules Crittenden: Of Tight Lips, Bleeding Hearts and Leakage - Hopefully the Obama admin will be as tightlipped as the Bush admin was, Rove says. The lefty outrage is an indicator they’re off to a good start. LA TImes with Rove’s Loyola Marymount speech first: “Secrecy and confidentiality are necessary for every government, especially when you’re at war. [...] The freedom of the press should not be allowed and should not be required [to give] such transparency to the policy process that that policy process is stifled in its operation.” If last night’s press conference is any indicator, the new openness stops at the podium. The Bush administration of course was a champion of freedom of the press. Exhibit A: New York Times editors were neither charged with treason nor shot after drumhead trials for revealing vital national security secrets and providing aid and comfort to the enemy. Their reporters were not tossed out of the White House Press Corps or the Pentagon or denied any other normal access to the government or the United States military. It will be interesting to see whether the Obama administration is as gracious and supportive of the First Amendment. (READ MORE)

Hamilton, Madison, and Jay: Senator Specter: As clueless as clueless can be - Captain Ed's got the video that is must-see. It's Specter talking with FOX News correspondent Megyn Kelly. (Yes, she's a babe, but I love the brains more.) Basically Specter is saying that there should have been more hearings on the Pork-A-Palooza. Pretty weird considering his interview on Sean Hannity's radio show yesterday claiming he had done everything he could to make the bill better, and it was time to make a decision. What's amazing about it is the reaction he gives to Megyn Kelley bringing up the Bllomberg news piece about a new bureaucracy written into the bill under the disguise it will provide jobs, but also streamline health care: “One new bureaucracy, the National Coordinator of Health Information Technology, will monitor treatments to make sure your doctor is doing what the federal government deems appropriate and cost effective. The goal is to reduce costs and ‘guide’ your doctor’s decisions (442, 446).” (READ MORE)

Ed Morrissey: Did lobbyists generate bogus contributions for Murtha? - That’s the question that federal investigators want answered, at least according to the New York Times, but they miss an important point. The Department of Justice has conducted a series of raids on firms connected to Rep. John Murtha, and the Times reports that they’re looking at a lobbying group for connections to illegal contributions. And it might be more than just Murtha: “Federal prosecutors are looking into the possibility that a prominent lobbyist may have funneled bogus campaign contributions to his mentor, Representative John P. Murtha, as well as other lawmakers, two people familiar with the investigator’s questions said Tuesday. Employees of the PMA Group, the firm founded by the lobbyist, Paul Magliocchetti, have given a total of more than $1 million to political campaigns over the last three election cycles, according to the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics.” (READ MORE)

GayPatriotWest: The president & the deficit - Once again, the president has been attacking the Republicans for the last eight years, as if still in campaign mode. And yet he was in Washington for four of those eight years, so I’m wondering what he did in that time to confront those problems, particularly the deficit. I mean, here he is blaming the GOP, yet did he ever propose a budget without such deficits? Did he offer amendments to trim the size of federal appropriations? And yet in his press conference he acts as if he were not in Congress when the deficits were increasing and debt was accumulating: “. . . when I hear that from folks who presided over a doubling of the national debt, then, you know, I just want them to not engage in some revisionist history. I inherited the deficit that we have right now and the economic crisis that we have right now.” (READ MORE)

Gribbit's Word: The Death of the Republic - The Pledge of Allegiance of the United States, whether you agree with the wording or not, states… “I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the republic for which it stands: one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.” It puts forth an idea that the nation is a republic - a government in which supreme power resides in a body of citizens entitled to vote and is exercised by elected officers and representatives responsible to them and governing according to law - whereas the political power is designed to be centered in the member states of the union and/or its people. It also asserts, whether you believe in the wording or not, that our rights and responsibilities are granted to us by GOD not the government. Somehow, this idea has become lost in society. (READ MORE)

Gateway Pundit: Change... Miranda Right Loophole May Hamper Gitmo Trials - Because terrorists are people, too. Omar Khadr faces five war crimes charges that include murder. In July 2002, Omar Khadr threw a grenade that blew up an American soldier in Afghanistan. Khadr was wounded and captured during this same firefight. After his capture a video was found that shows Khadr toying with detonating cord as other men including Abu Laith al-Libi assemble explosives in the same house that had been destroyed in the firefight. He was also seen planting landmines while smiling and joking with the cameraman. It has been suggested that these were the same landmines later recovered by American forces on a road between Gardez and Khowst- Wiki. Khadr was injured in the firefight and begged to be killed...But US medics saved his life. Instead, of facing death, Khadr may be set free. He was not read his Miranda rights. (READ MORE)

Dr. Sanity: FATAL CONCEITS, COMPLEX SYSTEMS, AND THE NARCISSISM OF BARACK OBAMA - I thought it was interesting last night in the Press Conference that President/Messiah Obama had absolute certainty that his $$ Trillion 'stimulus' was the only thing that could save us from utter and irreversible economic catastrophe. His certainty about this leads me to conclude that he has absolutely no idea what he is talking about. Let me explain the reasons for this conclusion. James K. Glassman in Commentary today discusses "Stimulus: A History of Folly" where he carefully looks at all the situation since the Great Depression when the government used fiscal or monetary 'stimulation' to get the economy moving again. He concludes (and please read the entire thing): “The truth is that we have learned almost nothing about the use of fiscal stimulus since the Great Depression, and it is a fatal conceit to assume that we can hurriedly construct a fiscal policy that will produce the prescribed results today. Economists seem to admit this fact by advocating what they prefer anyway, for political or ideological reasons....” (READ MORE)

Big Dog: Dow Tanks On Obama Plan - On Monday night Barack Obama preempted regular programming in order to get on the air and scare people into supporting the future generation bankruptcy plan. After he told us of the dire consequences of inaction he took some questions. Some of those questions dealt with the second half of the TARP money and what was going to be done to ensure that it worked and there was accountability. Obama said that his Treasury Secretary Tim [Geithner] would be speaking at a press conference tomorrow [Tuesday] and would explain it all. Obama did not want to steal Geithner’s thunder. Well, Geithner spoke and all I can say is if this is the brightest guy and the only one who could handle the problem then we are in real trouble. This specific plan that Obama said would be revealed was a very general plan with NO specifics. There was no meat to the thing. He did manage to say that access to government resources is a privilege and not a right. (READ MORE)

Lawhawk: Rangel Survives Another Attempt To Remove His Chairmanship - Democrats continue to protect the detestable Rep. Charles Rangel and maintain his position as Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, despite numerous ethics investigations and his ongoing tax problems. Never mind that Rangel is responsible for the operation of the Committee which sets tax policy. Rep. John Carter, a Republican sought to have Rangel removed as Chairman. The House voted 242-157 to defeat Carter's resolution. Carter had also introduced legislation that would establish the Rangel rule - providing all taxpayers with the same benefits afforded Rangel by the IRS. Democrats continue to insist that they don't stand for corruption and are highly ethical, but their actions show otherwise. (READ MORE)

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