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Heavy-Handed Politics

"€œGod willing, with the force of God behind it, we shall soon experience a world
without the United States and Zionism."€ -- Iran President Ahmadi-Nejad

Saturday, July 14, 2007

U.N. Gold Diggers

U.N. peacekeepers probed for gold smuggling; Indian unit stationed in Congo investigated for trafficking.
--Associated Press

Americans Providing Services That Chinese Immigrants Won't Do

Houston immigration lawyer gets 4 years for visa fraud
Houston Chronicle

A federal judge sentenced a Houston immigration lawyer to more than four years in prison Friday for her role in an elaborate Chinese visa fraud scheme.

During the February trial, prosecutors said the fraud ring operated from 2000 to 2005 and was known within the city's Chinese community.

"Nineteen years ago I came to this country to pursue the American dream. I never imagined my American dream would end like this."

HeavyHanded is wondering what her vision was of the American Dream.

Honduras fears U.S. immigration crackdown

Country's president urges Washington to declare moratorium on deportations


Americans Doing the Job Immigrants Won't Do

Border Patrol agent saves illegals from cliff plunge
Jumps in driverless van headed for embankment after smuggler abandons moving van
--San Diego Union-Tribune

Valerie Plame's Testimony

WASHINGTON -- Rep. Tom Davis, ranking Republican on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, is puzzled by the House Intelligence Committee's claim that Valerie Plame Wilson has been consistent in her sworn testimony. He is asking the Intelligence Committee for documents to back up their contention.
Davis last month noted that Mrs. Wilson had testified to his committee that she, as a CIA employee, had not .... Read on.

--By Robert Novak

Report: Al-Qaida bakes little boys

Iraqi official provides account of atrocity to embedded writer
A reporter embedded with the U.S. military in Iraq reports a government official has recounted a new atrocity by al-Qaida: several instances in which terrorists baked a young boy, then invited his family to lunch with the victim as the main course.

The report is from Michael Yon, a Special Forces soldier who returned to Iraq to report on the successes there, inspired, he told radio talk-show host Hugh Hewitt, by a "news cycle that seems to pander toward the terrorists."

Yon was in Baqubah listening to the statements of an Iraqi official who asked that his name not be reported. Yon said the Iraqi told him al-Qaida arrived in Baqubah and united a number of criminal gangs, leaving death and destruction behind. Read more at WND.

North Korea cuts juice to reactors

Atomic facility shut down hours after country receives oil offered for disarmament

Russia suspends arms pact, citing U.S. missile plan

Suspension of key Cold War-era weapons-limitation agreement begins in 150 days

Tom Tancredo: Find Deterrent or Face Another 9/11

Congressman says there is no 'consequence' for terrorists

Friday, July 13, 2007

Washington vs. The Surge

By Charles Krauthammer

"WASHINGTON -- Finally, after four terribly long years, we know what works. Or what can work. A year ago, a confidential Marine intelligence report declared Anbar province (which comprises about a third of Iraq's territory) lost to al-Qaeda. Now, in what the Times' John Burns calls an 'astonishing success,' the tribal sheiks have joined our side and committed large numbers of fighters that, in concert with American and Iraqi forces, have largely driven out al-Qaeda and turned its former stronghold of Ramadi into one of most secure cities in Iraq." Read on.

Follow the Yellow Streak Road

"The cowardly lyin’ Dems are skipping down the Yellow Streak Road.

It was just six months ago -- January 26, 2007 to be precise -- that the Senate confirmed Gen. David Petraeus to be US commander in Iraq by a vote of 81-0. Petraeus promised to come back to Congress in September and report on progress in Iraq.

Just three weeks later, on February 13, the House was already voting to consider a resolution disapproving the surge. The Senate lagged only four days behind on the same measure. A month later the House was voting on the Murtha-Obey legislation to force withdrawal by parceling funds in impossible-to-use chunks."

Read more of Jed Babbin at Human Events.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Government Should Not Police Speech

By Mitch McConnell

"Every high school student in America knows the book '1984,' George Orwell's classic novel about a totalitarian state that controls its people by pounding them with slogans that contradict reality: peace is war, ignorance is strength, freedom is slavery. The phrases have changed, but the effort to control people through manipulative speech hasn't. Recent talk by liberals in Congress about reviving the so-called 'Fairness Doctrine' is solid proof of that." Read on.

Moore's "Sicko" Is Sickening

By Larry Elder

"First, understand that lack of health-care 'insurance' does not mean a lack of health care. Many emergency rooms, by law, provide medical care to anyone who walks in, whether an illegal or legal resident of this country." Read on.

Cars: What would we do without 'em

Yesterday my daughter called me. (The one that lives in St. Cloud... we were just at her house in St.Cloud on Saturday for our grandson's fourth birthday). She was all stressed out. Her car died on the way to work. She normally works in St. Cloud. However on Wednesdays, she has to drive into their Twin Cities office. My over-the-phone diagnosis turned out to be accurate. Her a/c compressor on her 1995 Buick Regal seized up, belt broke, and of course she lost her power steering in the process, and car died on the side of the road.

Dad (that would be me - HH) calls family mechanic to have car towed back to the shop; mechanic picks up car and drops daughter off at work; dad picks daughter up after work; decision was made not to have it repaired at the shop because it was too expensive relative to value of car; dad pays for tow; boyfriend of another daughter of mine drives up after work to the station and tows car back to his house to see if he can get it back in operation for less money; he loans his 2nd hand car to Mrs. HH so Mrs. HH can loan her 2004 Malibu to daughter so she has a more reliable car to drive for a few days. Cars - what a pain in the ass.

Happy 4th Birthday, Jason

This past Sunday, HeavyHanded, Mrs. HH, and HH Jr. made a trip to St. Cloud (MN) to visit one of my daughters and to celebrate our only grandson's 4th birthday.

It was an enjoyable day ... good food... fun time. HH got the grilling duties. The trip back (normally one hour long) took twice that long. This is because of all the people returning back to Twin Cities from their weekend hiatus up nort' ...returning from their cabins, etc., causing the freeways to get bogged down.


This past Saturday HeavyHanded and Mrs. HH went to see Live Free or Die Hard. We thought it was quite enjoyable. Action packed and gets right into the action from the get-go.

As usual and to be expected with these kinds of movies, not too believable. But as long as you realize and understand that before going in, then you can just sit and take in all the action. Won't win any awards though, for sure.

I like the smart-ass one liners that Bruce Willis seems adept at delivering in the movie, much in the same way he did in the first Die Hard movie.


“’If you want to save the planet, I want you to start jumping up and down...’ Madonna railed from the stage at London’s Live Earth concert Saturday. ‘If you want to save the planet, let me see you jump!’ You just can’t beat that. What else could capture the canned juvenilia of a 48-year-old centimillionaire—who owns nine homes and has a ‘carbon footprint’ nearly 100 times larger than the norm—hectoring a bunch of well-off aging hipsters to show their Earth-love by jumping up and down like children?” —Jonah Goldberg



“Al Gore’s son was pulled over by police on the San Diego Freeway Tuesday with marijuana, Valium, Xanax and Vicodin on him. The kid never had a chance. He got hooked on downers at an early age listening to his father read him bedtime stories.” —Argus Hamilton


“[W]e ought to vote to dissolve the Congress and go home and wait for the next election.” —Sen. Trent Lott


“There is something about a Republican that you can only stand him just so long; and on the other hand, there is something about a Democrat that you can’t stand him quite that long.”

—Will Rogers

“A nation that is afraid to let its people judge the truth and falsehood in an open market is a nation that is afraid of its people.” —John F. Kennedy

“If the next century does not find us a great nation... it will be because those who represent the... morality of the nation do not aid in controlling the political forces.”

—James Garfield

“In politics, there are few skills more richly rewarded than the ability to misstate issues in a way that will sound plausible and attractive.” —Thomas Sowell

“We don’t give federal grants to tobacco companies to teach students ‘low-risk’ forms of smoking on the grounds that ‘kids are going to smoke anyway.’ We shouldn’t be giving federal grants to groups that sell contraception, to teach kids to use contraception.”

—Jennifer Roback Morse


“If the American public wants the border closed first, and discussion of everything else later, is that really such a bad thing?” —Victor Davis Hanson


“[I]n the post-civil-rights era, two competing ideas about discrimination, particularly racial discrimination, have arisen. The ‘conservative’ view is that discrimination is wrong, period. The ‘liberal’ view is that discriminatory means are acceptable in pursuing a noble end.” —James Taranto

The New Myths About Inequality

TCS Daily: "The Left is gearing up for 2008 with major proposals for government intervention to 'fix' the distribution of income. For example, the Center for American Progress, a liberal think tank, recently proposed raising the minimum wage, giving unions more advantages in the workplace, expanding government's role in child care, and other policies that will be harmful to economic growth, which is the one proven way to raise our standard of living.

In order to build support for .... "

Journalists Contribute to Power Gridlock
As a heat wave grips the nation, one possible solution – increasing America’s energy supply is next to impossible because of opposition from the news media and rabid environmentalists. According to their claims, we can’t increase use of coal or oil because of global warming or nuclear because of the danger. Oh, and hydroelectric is out because the greens want the dams torn down for the salmon’s sake. What’s left is a serious power problem. Read on.

"In the next place, the state governments are, by the very theory of the constitution, essential constituent parts of the general government. They can exist without the latter, but the latter cannot exist without them."

-- Joseph Story--

Obama Plays Race Card on Libby Decision

"Democratic presidential contender Barack Obama on Thursday derided President Bush's commutation of former White House aide I. Lewis 'Scooter' Libby's prison term even as .... "

Intel: al-Qaida Stepping Up Infiltration Efforts

"Al-Qaida is stepping up its efforts to sneak terror operatives into the United States and has .... "

"Tis folly in one Nation to look for disinterested favors from another; that it must pay with a portion of its Independence for whatever it may accept under that character; that by such acceptance, it may place itself in the condition of having given
equivalents for nominal favours and yet of being reproached with ingratitude for not giving more. There can be no greater error than to expect, or calculate upon real favours from Nation to Nation. 'Tis an illusion which experience must cure, which a just pride ought to discard."

-- George Washington

Illegal Immigration
By Walter E. Williams
President Bush and his pro-amnesty allies both in and out of Congress suffered a devastating defeat at the hands of the American people. Like any other public controversy, there are vested interests served on both sides of the amnesty issue, but I’d like to raise some ordinary non-rocket-science questions to the pro-amnesty crowd, many of whom are my libertarian friends. Do people, anywhere in the world, have a right to enter the United States irrespective of our laws pertaining to immigration?

Ross: Risk of War Between Israel and Syria

"A former senior American Middle East peace negotiator said he thinks 'there is a risk of war' between Israel and Syria this summer, according to a report in ynetnews.com.

Dennis Ross told ynetnews that 'nobody has made any decision (about going to war), but the Syrians are positioning themselves for war.'

'Syria has rearmed Hizbullah to the teeth – there should be a price to pay for that,' the ex-State Department official said." Read on.

The True Politics of the Paranoid Style

American liberals took leave of reason after JFK's murder.

Opinion Journal

'Inherit the Wind' is running on Broadway again, night after night pitting the righteously rational Clarence Darrow against the Bible-thumping antievolutionist William Jennings Bryan. The 1955 play--a chestnut of high-school English courses across the country--concerns the Scopes 'Monkey Trial' of 1925 and is meant to capture the moment in American history when science and reason superseded, at last, the myth and superstition of foolish reactionaries. It has become something of a liberal .... " Read on.

The Blogosphere for Killers

Tech-savvy terrorists use the Web for propaganda and incitement.

Opinion Journal

Living as we do now afloat the incoming and outgoing tides of media, perhaps the aborted London and Glasgow car bombings of a fortnight ago are worth another thought before these attempted mass murders drift away on the sea of bad memories. What about those doctors? The apparent complicity of U.K.-resident Muslim physicians in the attempted murder of innocent British civilians had many .... "

Read on.

The 'Benchmark' Excuse

Crocker and Petraeus speak some truths, if Senators are listening.
Opinion Journal

"Ryan Crocker, the U.S. Ambassador in Iraq, is a 36-year career diplomat who has served under seven administrations in Iran, Syria, Kuwait, Afghanistan, Lebanon and Pakistan. He's no partisan gunslinger. So it's worth .... "

Read on.

FDA tyranny

"On July 11, 2007, the U.S. House of Representatives passed HR 2900, blocking debate on the law and preventing the introduction of any amendments that might have provided meaningful drug safety protections for consumers. This action demonstrates that the House of Representatives, much like the Senate, is utterly controlled by Big Pharma and has abandoned any responsibility to defend the interests of the voters. Drug companies now have complete control over the U.S. Congress, and through a campaign of intense lobbying and financial influence, they have managed to easily water down a law that once proposed to end the American monopoly on pharmaceuticals and ban advertising on new drugs."

Read on.

Senate to Probe Border Agents Case

One Year Later: Hizballah Rebuilding, Israel Preparing for War
Biranit, Israel -
One year after the Israeli-Hizballah war, Israel’s northern border is the quietest it has been in decades -- but maybe not for long. Hizballah is rebuilding its infrastructure and rearming itself with the help of Iran and Syria, and Israel is preparing to defend itself against any future attack, a senior Israeli military officer said...

Fairness Doctrine Target of New Measure by GOP Senators
The battle over whether to reinstate the controversial Fairness Doctrine moved to the Senate on Wednesday, where Republicans introduced a measure intended to permanently prevent the Federal Communications Commission from using what they called "the heavy hand of government control over talk radio."

Republican Tancredo Announces ‘Overdue’ Immigration Reform
Rep. Tom Tancredo (R-Colo.) on Wednesday announced plans to introduce legislation that would overhaul the U.S. immigration system by placing tighter restrictions on legal immigration and increasing pressure on illegal immigrants currently in the country to leave...

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Atheists applaud Ellison's views on Cheney, Libby, 9/11

"It's almost like the Reichstag fire, kind of reminds me of that. After the Reichstag was burned, they blamed the Communists for it and it put the leader of that country [Hitler] in a position where he could basically have authority to do whatever he wanted. The fact is that I'm not saying [Sept. 11] was a [U.S.] plan, or anything like that because, you know, that's how they put you in the nut-ball box--dismiss you." -Nutball wacko junior congressman Keith Ellison of Minneapolis
Minneapolis Star & Tribune: "Freshman Congressman Keith Ellison was among friends Sunday -- in this case, a gathering of atheists -- so his support for a fistful of hot-button opinions, including the impeachment of Vice President Dick Cheney, brought enthusiastic nods of approval and standing ovations.

As he was introduced to the eclectic gathering, which included one man wearing a black T-shirt that read 'Investigate 9/11,' Ellison was told that after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, Muslims had joined atheists at the bottom of popular opinion polls."

Abandoning the Fight Against al-Qaida in Iraq

"America good! Al-Qaida bad!" -- A trader in the Qatana bazaar, Ramadi, Iraq

This is a sentiment that the Iraqi trader felt safe to utter as a visiting U.S. general passed by, according to John Burns of The New York Times, only after a furtive glance "up and down the narrow refuse-strewn street to check who might be listening." In a microcosm, this is the reason why we are finally making progress against al-Qaida in Iraq. The protection afforded by American combat power has made it possible for Iraqis in Sunni areas to turn against the terror group.

In a global struggle against Islamic extremism, it is an incontestably welcome development that ordinary Sunnis in the Arab heartland are spurning al-Qaida. The extremist group has been on a campaign of savagery in Iraq that has discredited its own cause. The grassroots revolt against it means that it is within our reach to deny al-Qaida its most important current geopolitical objective, which is plunging Iraq into a bloody chaos in which it can thrive. Read on.

Hillary on Her Faith

By Cal Thomas

"Some unknown author once said, 'Everybody should believe in something; I believe I'll have another drink.'

Democratic senator and presidential candidate Hillary Clinton took a less cynical and more substantive approach to faith in a recent interview with The New York Times. The quality and depth of one's relationship with God should be personal and beyond the judgment of others, unless one is running for president and chooses to talk about it as part of a campaign plan to win the election."

Truth in global warming: Mr. Dingell's inconvenient tax.

Mosque and State: Taxpayer Dollars, Time Devoted to Islam in Schools
Decisions by public schools and colleges to provide special prayer times or to make other allowances for Muslim students have raised eyebrows – but not all groups that oppose expressions of religion in the public domain are complaining. Some religious liberty advocates regard the Muslim-accommodation trend as an opportunity that should be seized...

Poll: Younger Voters Turning Against Abortion

"Younger voters, especially women, are embracing a pro-life position in surprising numbers and in sharp contrast to attitudes that held sway 15 years ago, according to a new study."

Cindy Sheehan Launches Pelosi Challenge

"Cindy Sheehan bid farewell to her former 'peace camp' near President Bush's ranch and began a nearly two-week trek Tuesday toward Washington, D.C., with her sights set on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi."

Monday, July 09, 2007

A Live Earth Weekend
By Rich Galen

Some of the coverage of Live Earth was unintentionally amusing. One report from the NY Times told of the point during the concert at Giants Stadium in New Jersey "when Al Gore bounded onto the stage wearing jeans and a black shirt." Gore in a black shirt: A human eclipse of the sun. Another bit of unintentional irony was when Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. exhorted the same crowd to "get rid of all those rotten politicians we have in Washington, D.C." First, one assumes he was tacitly exempting his Uncle Ted. Second, holding an eco-friendly concert in New Jersey is an amusing concept on its face...


Lesbian Couple Wants Access to Religious Property for Civil Union
A lesbian couple in New Jersey has filed a complaint against a Methodist-owned campground, claiming illegal discrimination because their request for a civil union ceremony on the property was denied...

Cheers, Jeers for Gore’s Live Earth Concerts
– The Live Earth series of weekend concerts intended to highlight global warming drew both praise and controversy here. While they celebrated what they considered a major success, critics were tearing into the event, and what some saw as the hypocrisy of millionaire rock stars lecturing the masses about “going green.”

Algeria: OPEC Has Little Power to Ease Oil Prices
BRUSSELS -- Algeria's Energy and Mines Minister Chakib Khelil said on Monday there was 'not much' OPEC could do to bring down high oil prices as global crude stocks were already sufficient.

IEA Sees Oil Supply Crunch Looming
LONDON -- World oil demand will rise faster than expected to 2012 while production lags, leading to a supply crunch, the International Energy Agency said on Monday.


“Anybody who watched presidential spokesman Tony Snow face a pack of snarling White House press corps correspondents following President Bush’s commutation of Scooter Libby’s prison sentence will understand the meaning of the word hypocrisy... Then there was Mrs. Hillary Clinton, who had the gall to issue a statement saying, ‘Today’s decision is yet another example that this Administration simply considers itself above the law. This case arose from the Administration’s politicization of national security intelligence and its efforts to punish those who spoke out against its policies. Four years into the Iraq war, Americans are still living with the consequences of this White House’s efforts to quell dissent. This commutation sends the clear signal that in this Administration, cronyism and ideology trump competence and justice.’ Said Tony Snow: ‘I don’t know what Arkansan is for chutzpah, but this is a gigantic case of it.’ Here, after all, is the wife of a president who all but peddled pardons to an assortment of felons and miscreants including one malodorous fugitive from justice who had renounced his American citizenship. Doesn’t this woman recall that on her husband’s last day in the White House he signed 140 pardons and several commutations?”

—Michael Reagan


“Today, whole classes of people get their jollies and puff themselves up by denigrating and denouncing American society. Such people are a major influence in our media, in our educational system and among all sorts of vocal activists. Nothing illustrates their power to distort reality like the way they seize upon slavery to denounce American society. Slavery was cancerous but does anybody regard cancer in the United States as an evil peculiar to American society? It is a worldwide affliction and so was slavery. Both the enslavers and the enslaved have included people on every inhabited continent—people of every race, color, and creed. More Europeans were enslaved and taken to North Africa by Barbary Coast pirates alone than there were African slaves taken to the United States and to the colonies from which it was formed. Yet throughout our educational system, our media, and in politics, slavery is incessantly presented as if it were something peculiar to black and white Americans. What was peculiar about the United States was that it was the first country in which slavery was under attack from the moment the country was created. What was peculiar about Western civilization was that it was the first civilization to destroy slavery, not only within its own countries but in other countries around the world as well. Reality has been stood on its head so that a relative handful of people can feel puffed up or gain notoriety and power. Whatever they gain, the rest of us have everything to lose.”

—Thomas Sowell


“At first the liberal Democrats were coy about reports that they wanted to impose government control on talk radio. When it was reported that Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton had discussed the matter with Sen. Barbara Boxer, both denied it. That is characteristic. They lied to the public. Now the Democrats admit to this assault on the First Amendment. There was no point in continuing to lie when it was time to take action against the Rush Limbaughs of this world...Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin [said], ‘It’s time to reinstitute the Fairness Doctrine. I have this old-fashioned attitude that when Americans hear both sides of the story, they’re in a better position to make a decision.’ Well, at least he admits that he is old-fashioned. Unfortunately for him, history really has moved on. The so-called Fairness Doctrine, used for years to keep diversity off the airways, was instituted when all we had in the communications system was radio and fledgling television. Perhaps in those days it was admissible to believe that there were only two sides to a ‘story,’ as Durbin puts it. Today there are many sides to stories, and no government body is equipped to judge what should be on the broadcast media and what is too marginal. In other words, it ought not to be left to government to decide what the sides are in a debate. That is anathema to free debate.”

—Emmett Tyrrell

“The framers of the First Amendment, confident that public debate would be freer and healthier without the kind of interference represented by the ‘fairness doctrine,’ chose to forbid such regulations in the clearest terms: ‘Congress shall make no law... abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press.’... History has shown that the dangers of an overly timid or biased press cannot be averted through bureaucratic regulation, but only through the freedom and competition that the First Amendment sought to guarantee. [The ‘fairness doctrine’] simply cannot be reconciled with the freedom of speech and the press secured by our Constitution. It is, in my judgment, unconstitutional. Well-intentioned as [the ‘fairness doctrine’] may be, it would be inconsistent with the First Amendment and with the American tradition of independent journalism.”

—Ronald Reagan

Pro-Immigration Forces Back North American Union

"America is finished.

Mexico and Canada are gone too.

In their place: One massive country, the North American Union (NAU), bordered by the Bering Sea to the north and Guatemala to the south, the Atlantic to the east and the Pacific to the west."

UK Chief: 15 Year Terror War

"Britain's new security chief warned on Sunday that the battle against domestic militancy could take up to 15 years, and said Britons must start sharing information about neighbors they suspect of involvement in terrorism."

Report: Missing Iranian general defected

A missing Iranian general defected and is being safeguarded ...

JERUSALEM, (UPI) -- A missing Iranian general defected and is being safeguarded by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency, it was reported Sunday.

Ali-Reza Asghari disappeared while on vacation in Turkey in February amid rumors he defected to a western country, the Jerusalem Post reported.

Asghari met up with CIA agents in Istanbul before he and some relatives were brought to the United States, the Post said, adding that U.S. officials have not commented on the report.

Asghari reportedly told the CIA Iran is enriching uranium with lasers in addition to building reactors and uranium enrichment centrifuges, the Post reported.

Asghari was a member of the Iranian Security Council and a senior officer in the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, who oversee the country's nuclear facilities.

If Asghari's information is reliable it would support Western concerns about the increasing danger of Iran's nuclear program, the Post reported.

Russia proposes global missile shield

Russia's deputy prime minister Sunday urged the United State...

MOSCOW, (UPI) -- Russia's deputy prime minister Sunday urged the United States to scrap its plans for a European missile shield and join a global program instead.

Sergei Ivanov told RIA Novosti a global missile defense system could be operational by 2020.

'We are proposing to create a single missile defense system for all participants with equal access to the system's control,' Ivanov said.

The Russian defense plan would include the United States and Europe with defense information exchange centers in Moscow and Brussels.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has been a vocal opponent of U.S. plans to put missile shields in Poland and the Czech Republic and has offered to share its early warning system in Azerbaijan.

'In addition, Russia is ready in the future to offer its new radar being built in the Krasnodar Territory (in southern Russia) for a joint data system,' Ivanov said.

July 21 bombers guilty of London terror plot | News | This is London

"Three al-Qaeda terrorists who tried to explode devices on the Tube and buses just two weeks after 7/7 face life in prison after they were convicted unamamously by a jury."

Miliband warns Iran over nuclear ambitions | Uk News | Telegraph
By Brendan Carlin

David Miliband, the new Foreign Secretary, indicated last night that Gordon Brown's Government would not shrink from confrontation with Iran over its nuclear ambitions.

Mr Miliband insisted the new Government would 'not retreat from the world' in the wake of Tony Blair's departure. but would be a 'robust defender' of the national interest.

Iraqis warn of civil war if U.S. troops withdraw
By Waleed Ibrahim and Ahmed Rasheed

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Iraqi leaders warned on Monday that an early U.S. troop withdrawal could tip Iraq into all-out civil war after the New York Times said debate was growing in the White House over a gradual scaling-down of forces.

Voters Excited Over ’08 Campaign; Tired of It, Too

New York Times: "In interview after interview, voters said they felt overwhelmed by the battle for their attention: the speeches, the attacks, the unceasing news coverage of celebrity candidates, and a fund-raising free-for-all that many described as unseemly."

The wheels of paranoia and conspiracies never stop spinning

From The New York Post

WASHINGTON - The Democrat probing President Bush's decision to commute the prison sentence of former White House aide Lewis "Scooter" Libby said yesterday there is "the suspicion" Libby might have fingered others in the administration if he served time.

House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers spoke on ABC's "This Week" of "the general impression" that Bush last week commuted Libby's 21/2-year sentence in the CIA-leak case to keep Libby quiet. The White House said Conyers' claim was "baseless."

Conyers (D-Mich.) has scheduled a committee hearing Wednesday on the matter.

Yeaaaa for Minnesota!

Midwest tops volunteerism list - Los Angeles Times:

People in Las Vegas and Riverside are among the least likely to give time to a cause, a federal study finds.
From Associated Press

WASHINGTON — The spirit of volunteerism is thriving in the heartland, but not so much on the coasts.

Midwesterners are more likely to volunteer their time than are people elsewhere in the United States, according to a federal study released Sunday.

The highest rates were in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area, where more than four in 10 adults volunteered.

'It's really about Minneapolis' commitment to the quality of life,' said Michael Weber, president and chief executive of Volunteers of America of Minnesota. Read on.