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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, December 01, 2007

Tis okay for me, but not for thee.

Why is it that Newt Gingrich was criticized in 1994, when he accepted a $4.5 million advance for his book "To Renew America" and ultimately ended up returning the advance because of political pressure, but Hillary received $8 million in advance for her memoirs and now Teddy Kennedy is reportedly getting over $8 million for his memoirs?

Why the double standard?

Friday, November 30, 2007

Washington Times:
Merger of 3Com and Chinese Company Deemed National Security Threat

Washington Times:
Immigration groups slam Huckabee as a 'disaster'

Fox News/AP:
Egyptian Human Rights Blogger Silenced by YouTube

The Candidate's 'Catch Me if You Can'

Reporters Following Hillary Clinton on the Campaign Trail Are Covered in Dust

By Howard Kurtz
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, November 30, 2007; C01

CONCORD, N.H. -- ABC correspondent Kate Snow was ready to push through the crowd and ask Hillary Clinton a question until an aide blocked the path of Snow's sound man as he aimed his boom mike in the senator's direction.

"Sorry, we've gotta go," the woman said, though it was clear that Clinton would be shaking hands for some time.

Moments later, as the Democratic presidential candidate was mobbed by well-wishers, Boston television reporter Joe Battenfeld managed to shout a question -- a meaningless question, truth be told -- about whether she needed to win both Iowa and New Hampshire. Clinton was defiantly bland in response, as if determined that her comments not be used.

"Oh, I don't think about it like that. I'm just thrilled to be competing in Iowa and New Hampshire. . . . There's something very special about the New Hampshire primary. . . . I take nothing for granted. . . . We have wonderful candidates running."

Such is life spent trailing the Clinton juggernaut, where reporters can generally get close enough to watch but no further, as if separated from the candidate by an invisible sheet of glass.

National correspondents are increasingly frustrated by a lack of access to Clinton. They spend much of their time in rental cars chasing her from one event to the next, because the campaign usually provides no press bus or van. Life on the bus means journalists don't have to worry about luggage or directions or getting left behind, since they are part of the official motorcade. News organizations foot the bill for such transportation, but campaigns have to staff and coordinate the buses -- and deal with .......


It Was No Misunderstanding, Says China
China made it clear Thursday that its recent decisions to deny U.S. Navy ships entry to the Hong Kong port were not a “misunderstanding” – as the White House said earlier this week – but retaliation for American policies...


Since September 11, 2001, the men and women of the U.S. Department of the Treasury have worked tirelessly to identify and cut off sources of financing for terrorist organizations and other threats to our national security.

However, their efforts are now taking place alongside an emerging financial trend that could threaten our national security in ways not yet fully grasped: the penetration of Islamofascism-tainted countries and radical Islamists themselves into Western financial markets and other Western strategic industries.

The problem consists of two elements. Read more

Kasparov: Russian Election a Farce

Former chess champion and Kremlin critic Garry Kasparov on Friday dismissed Russia's parliamentary elections this weekend as a farce that will push the country toward what he called a ''single-party dictatorship.''

A day after he was released from five days in jail for a street protest, Kasparov said massive state support for President Vladimir Putin's party and growing pressure on dissenters will cast a mantle of illegitimacy over the Kremlin and will galvanize its opponents.



Conservative talk show host Michael Savage likes to say that "liberalism is a mental disorder."

Is this the proof we are looking for?

A new Gallup poll finds:

Republicans are significantly more likely than Democrats or independents to rate their mental health as excellent, according to data from the last four November Gallup Health and Healthcare polls. Fifty-eight percent of Republicans report having excellent mental health, compared to 43% of independents and 38% of Democrats. . . .

While Democrats are slightly less likely to report excellent mental health than are independents, the big distinctions in these data are the differences between Republicans and everyone else.

Assault on the Constitution

From James Taranto
Best of the Web, Opinion Journal

"Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has a friend in Joe Biden, the Delaware senator who fancies himself a candidate for president made clear at a campaign appearance in Portsmouth, N.H., reports the Portsmouth Herald:
Biden stated unequivocally that he will move to impeach President Bush if he bombs Iran without first gaining congressional approval.

Biden spoke in front of a crowd of approximately 100 at a candidate forum held Thursday at Seacoast Media Group. The forum focused on the Iraq war and foreign policy. When an audience member expressed fear of a war with Iran, Biden said he does not typically engage in threats, but had no qualms about issuing a direct warning to the Oval Office.

"The president has no authority to unilaterally attack Iran, and if he does, as Foreign Relations Committee chairman, I will move to impeach," said Biden, whose words were followed by a raucous applause from the local audience.

Biden said he is in the process of meeting with constitutional law experts to prepare a legal memorandum saying as much and intends to send it to the president.

Biden--who as chairman of the Judiciary Committee presided over the travesties that were the Robert Bork and Clarence Thomas confirmation hearings--apparently is either ignorant or contemptuous of the Constitution. Presumably one of those legal experts will inform him that as a senator, he has no authority to "move to impeach" anyone. That power rests solely with the House."

100,000 march against Hugo Chavez reforms

Times Online
November 30, 2007

Thousands of opponents to Venezuelan President Chavez's plan to reform the constitution, march in the streets of Caracas Hannah Strange and agencies

More than 100,000 marchers flooded the streets of Caracas yesterday to protest against proposed constitutional changes that would dramatically widen the powers of President Hugo Chavez.

As polls predicted an agonisingly close result in Sunday’s referendum, legions of protesters stormed along the Venezuelan capital’s central avenue, blowing whistles, waving placards and shouting “Not like this!”

Some taunted "Shut up!" echoing a outburst by King Juan Carlos of Spain at a recent summit, which has become a popular ring tone among students.

There were no official counts of those present but Leopoldo Lopez, an opposition politician, estimated that at least 160,000 had taken part in the demonstration, the official close of the campaign against the proposed reforms. Full article.


Edwards: Garnish Wages If Needed to Cover All

ABC News' Teddy Davis Reports: Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards is hoping to stand-out from rivals on health care by portraying the plan of rival Barack Obama as leaving 15 million uninsured and portraying Hillary Clinton as lacking the candor needed to get to universal coverage.

"Barack Obama's plan leaves out 15 million people," said Edwards. "The truth is that some people will choose not to buy insurance even though it's affordable, knowing that the rest of us will pay for their emergency room visits."

Under the Edwards plan, when Americans file their income taxes, they would be required to submit a letter from an insurance provider confirming coverage for themselves and their dependents.

If someone did not submit proof of coverage, the Internal Revenue Service would notify a newly established regional or state-based health-care agency (which Edwards has dubbed a Health Care Market).

Those regional agencies would then evaluate whether the uninsured individual was eligible for Medicare (which covers those over 65), Medicaid (which covers the indigent), or S-CHIP (the State Children's Health Insurance Program which targets the working poor). Read more.

China's show of strength ups military ante

Asia Times Online :: China News
Greater China
Dec 1, 2007
By Willy Lam

Large-scale air and naval maneuvers off China's southeast coast last week demonstrated the post-17th Party Congress leadership's determination to project hard power in view of tension in the Taiwan Strait. The week-long war games, which coincided with Beijing's sudden cancellation of the USS Kitty Hawk battle group's Hong Kong port call, are also meant to convey Beijing's displeasure with Washington's recent decision to sell weapons to Taiwan and to honor the Dalai Lama.

Moreover, this show of force reflects the commitment of President Hu Jintao, who was re-elected chairman of the Central Military Commission (CMC) at the congress, to speed up the modernization of the People's Liberation Army's (PLA) already formidable arsenal.

The military drills, which started on November 19, covered a wide...... READ ON.

Wave Of Illegals Turns Into Tsunami

Immigration: A new study suggests that the wave of illegal aliens is having a more serious impact — particularly on welfare spending — than commonly believed. Is anyone in Washington listening?

The study by the Center for Immigration Studies notes that the estimated 10.3 million people who've come here since 2000 represent the greatest-ever migration to the U.S. over a seven-year period. Over the next decade, at current rates, another 15 million will arrive — the largest immigrant wave in our history.

Not bad for a country that supposedly is one of the most unpopular on Earth. That said, the study also notes that more than half the newcomers so far this decade — 5.6 million — have come illegally.

Of America's 39 million immigrants, representing 12.6% of our total population, at least 12 million are illegal. Most, but not all, come from Mexico and Central America.

"Is there no virtue among us? If there be not, we are in a wretched situation. No theoretical checks-no form of government can render us secure. To suppose that any form of government will secure liberty or happiness without any virtue in the people, is a chimerical idea, if there be sufficient virtue and intelligence in the community, it will be exercised in the selection of these men. So that we do not depend on their virtue, or put confidence in our rulers, but in the people who are to choose them."

-- James Madison --

Little Chance for Success from Annapolis

By Michael Medved

The Middle East Peace Conference in Annapolis stands little chance of success due to obviously contradictory demands by the Palestinians.

They insist, for instance, on a so-called "Right of Return"--authorizing millions of grandchildren and great-grandchildren of one-time refugees to claim homes they've never even seen in Israel. At the same time, they demand that Israel dismantle long-established Jewish communities in the future state of Palestine.

They expect Israel, in other words, to accommodate unlimited numbers of Palestinians in its territory while simultaneously refusing to accept any Jewish residents in the potential Palestine. In effect, they're pushing for two homelands, not just one: claiming both Israel and the future Palestine as refuges for their dispersed people. Israelis will accept the right of unlimited numbers of Palestinians to settle in a Palestinian state--that's the whole idea of establishing that new nation. But they'll never agree to the simultaneous right of millions of hostile Arabs to swamp the state of Israel.

Thursday, November 29, 2007


"My ardent desire is, and my aim has been...to comply strictly with all our engagements foreign and domestic; but to keep the U States free from political connections with every other Country.

To see that they may be independent of all, and under the influence of none. In a word, I want an American character, that the powers of Europe may be convinced we act for ourselves and not for others; this, in my judgment, is the only way to be
respected abroad and happy at home."

-- George Washington --

Chavez: CNN May Be Instigating My Murder
Chavez: CNN May Be Instigating My Murder Wednesday, November 28, 2007 9:04 AM Article Font Size Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said on Wednesday CNN may have been instigating his murder when the U.S. TV network showed a photograph of him with a label underneath that read "Who killed him?"

The caption appeared to be a production mistake -- confusing a Chavez news item with one on the death of a football star. The anchor said "take the image down" when he realized.

But Chavez called for a probe in an interview on state television, where he repeatedly reviewed a tape of the broadcast, questioning why the unconnected photograph and wording were left on screen for several seconds. "I want the state prosecutor to look into bringing a suit against CNN for instigating murder in Venezuela," he said. "... undoubtedly it is part of the psychological warfare."

Read on.

Surging Huckabee Tops New GOP Iowa Poll
Surging Huckabee Tops New GOP Iowa Poll Wednesday, November 28, 2007 7:36 PM Article Font Size Surging former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee Wednesday topped the latest opinion poll of the US Republican presidential field in the crucial leadoff voting state of Iowa.

Just 36 days before the state's fabled caucuses nominating contests, the ordained Baptist minister came in ahead of former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, who has led Iowa surveys for months.

Read more.


Why does mineral water that 'has trickled through mountains for centuries have a 'use by' date?

New York Times Taking a Beating

The New York Times is in deep trouble. Read about it here.

What’s gone wrong with my Marxism?

Help! I’m a Marxist who defends capitalism
By Brendan O'Neill

The benefits of global capitalism

As one of the Marxists named in James Delingpole’s recent Spectator article (3 November) on his alleged conversion to the commie cause, I really should be angrier about reckless, risk-hungry, overambitious bankers. Yet I find myself in the curious position today of thinking capitalism isn’t risk-hungry enough, certainly in areas where it matters: developing the forces of production and creating new wealth. I also find myself shaking my head in violent disagreement whenever I hear so-called radicals put the boot into capitalism. They seem to loathe the very parts of the capitalist system that Marx quite liked. Delingpole’s crisis of Tory/commie identity is nothing compared with mine: Help! I’m a Marxist who sometimes feels the urge to defend capitalism.

‘We are at war with all Islam’

An interview with Ayaan Hirsi Ali
By Mary Wakefield

Last Tuesday at nightfall, as the servants of democracy fled SW1, a young Somali woman stood spotlit on a stage in Westminster. Behind her was the illuminated logo for the Centre for Social Cohesion: a white hand reaching down across England to help a brown one up; in front, an audience of some of Britain’s biggest brains — politicians, editors, academics. She drew her shawl a little closer round her shoulders, looked up and said: ‘We are not at war with “terror”, that would make no sense.’

‘Hear, hear,’ said a voice at the back. ‘Terror is just a tactic used by Islam,’ she continued. ‘We are actually at war, not just with Islamism, but with Islam itself.’

Out in the dark began a great wobbling of heads. Neocons nodded, Muslims shook their heads; others, uncertain, waggled theirs anxiously from side to side: at war with all Islam, even here in the UK? What does that mean?

It would be easier in some ways to ignore Ayaan Hirsi Ali, to label her as bonkers — but it would also be irresponsible. She’s not just another hawkish hack, anxious to occupy the top tough-guy media slot — she has the authority of experience, the authenticity of suffering. In the spring of 2004 she wrote a film called Submission (an artsy 11-minute protest against Islamic cruelty to women) which was shown on Dutch TV. In November 2004 the film’s director, Theo van Gogh, was assassinated and the killer left a long letter to Hirsi Ali knifed into his corpse which said, in short: you’re next. But Hirsi Ali couldn’t be silenced. She has since written an autobiography (Infidel) about growing up a Muslim (in Somalia, then Saudi Arabia and Ethiopia), describing her circumcision, the beatings she received, her arranged marriage, her flight to Holland. She risks her life daily, speaking out against what she calls the ‘fairytale’ that Islam is in essence a religion of peace.

Full article here.

Church refuses to back down from Chavez's verbal attacks

Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez's assault on the Catholic Church may dissuade voters Sunday from supporting changes that he wants.


Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez delivers a speech during a rally in Caracas on Tuesday. Venezuelans will decide Dec. 2 whether to approve constitutional changes that would let Chavez run for re-election indefinitely, extend presidential terms from six to seven years, and create new types of property to be managed by cooperatives and communities, among other changes.

Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez's habit of verbally attacking his enemies appears to have backfired in his dealings with one of the country's most prestigious institutions -- a Catholic Church critical of the president.

Even as he clashed in recent days with King Juan Carlos of Spain and President Alvaro Uribe from neighboring Colombia, the populist Chávez and top government officials were unleashing the worst crisis in church-state relations in decades.

Chávez threatened reprisals -- and even prison -- against Cardinal Jorge Urosa Savino as church officials publicly criticized constitutional revisions proposed by the .....

Read more at the Miami Herald.

Washington Times:
Immigrants, illegals use welfare more often

See related story:
Immigrant Population Hits Record 38 Million; $20 Billion in Welfare

Chavez's power play has echoes of Castro

USA Today:
Venezuelan vote on Sunday could lead to 'big headache' for U.S.


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ABC News: Radioactive Material Bust Involved Uranium
Slovak police said Thursday they have identified as uranium the 2.2 pounds of radioactive material seized from three suspects who allegedly tried to sell it for $1 million. Police spokesman Martin Korch could not say whether the seized material had been enriched to weapons-grade.

60 Years Later, UN Partition of Palestine Still A Heated Topic

Jerusalem – Sixty years after the United Nations voted to divide British-ruled Palestine into two states -- a Jewish state and an Arab state -- the Palestinians still have not accepted that decision. Prior to and during this week’s U.S.-sponsored Israeli-Palestinian summit in Annapolis, senior Palestinian officials said that they would never recognize Israel as a Jewish State... Read on.

What’s Putin Up To, Russians Wonder

Ahead of Russian parliamentary elections this weekend, critics of President Vladimir Putin are accusing him of going to great lengths to ensure an overwhelming victory for his United Russia party, thereby providing a way to hold on to power... Read on.

Iraq Combat Deaths Down 50 Percent in November

Combat-related casualties for U.S. military personnel in Iraq have been reduced by half in the first 28 days of November compared to the same timeframe for last year, a Cybercast News Service analysis of Pentagon reports shows. November marks the sixth consecutive month that military deaths have declined in Iraq, and recent figures show a correlation between the influx of new troops and declining casualty rates... Read on.

Sarbanes-Oxley for Churches?

By David Davenport

Senator Charles Grassley of Iowa is investigating six ministries about their financial practices. Apparently concerned with church leaders who drive nice cars, Grassley wants records of ministry salaries, expense accounts, credit cards, cars and airplanes.

Now it's fair to argue that those things should be examined, but the question is, by whom? By Uncle Sam? I think not.

The same people who brought you the overregulation of Sarbanes-Oxley in the corporate world, and who claim to believe in the separation of church and state, now want to bring government oversight into the spending decisions of churches and ministries. That accountability should come, but from donors and boards, not from a committee of the United States Senate.

Perhaps Senator Grassley feels a clergyman should not drive a luxury car. But that is not his decision to make. There is plenty of spending for the Senate to watch right in its own building.

I did not watch the debate but Hugh Hewitt writes that: Romney Wins. Big.
If CNN had sent a memo around with a heading "How Do We Make All The Republicans Look Bad?" they couldn't have telegraphed the corporate motive in this debate with any more transparency.


Amanda Carpenter:
Signs Hillary Will Tap Clark as VP

Hillary Clinton has been working closely with decorated anti-war retired Gen. Wesley Clark on foreign policy, fueling rumors he could be vice-president on a "Clinton-Clark" ticket in 2008.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Musharraf gives up army uniform

Huckabee Tries to Gloss Over Ark. Record

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. - Mike Huckabee's presidential rivals are pointing to chinks in his record as Arkansas' governor -- from ethics complaints to tax increases to illegal immigration and his support for releasing a rapist who was later convicted of killing a Missouri woman. The Republican presidential candidate has plenty to champion from his 10 1/2 years as governor -- including school improvements and health insurance for the children of the working poor. But his record has rough edges, and Huckabee has a habit of playing fast and loose with it. Other campaigns for the GOP nomination, watching Huckabee's rise in polls in Iowa, are starting to mine his past for political fodder. Take ethics, for example. READ ON.


Chavez Threatens Critics of Proposed Constitutional Changes
Buenos Aires
– Following a series of violent clashes between the supporters and opponents of controversial constitutional amendments in Venezuela, President Hugo Chavez has stepped up threats against critics ahead of Sunday’s referendum on the changes...

Talking Ourselves into Recession

From The Balance Sheet

The Federal Reserve has said it doesn’t expect a recession in 2008. A slowdown, perhaps, but not a recession. Still, the media obsession continues – whether the measurement is sweaters, Starbucks or RVs. Read more.

“Americans are so enamored of equality, they would rather be equal in slavery than unequal in freedom.”
—Alexis de Tocqueville

“A man who thinks of himself as belonging to a particular national group in America has not yet become an American. And the man who goes among you to trade upon your nationality is no worthy son to live under the Stars and Stripes.”
-- Woodrow Wilson --

“Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored.”
-- Aldous Huxley --


“If you don’t like going to the DMV, imagine if the only place you could go to resolve a health care problem is some government agency.” —Rush Limbaugh

Expert: U.S. Attack on Iran Would Have Terrible Consequences

Martin van Creveld, professor of military history and strategy at Hebrew University in Jerusalem tells Newmax that any U.S. attack aimed at knocking out Iran’s nuclear program would succeed only in exacerbating conflict in the Middle East and put U.S. troops in Iraq at risk.
Read the Full Story — Go Here Now.

First Matter of Business in Annapolis

By Hugh Hewitt
"The greatest American scholar of Islam, Princeton's Bernard Lewis, wrote in the Wall Street Journal earlier this week that the success of the Annapolis summit really turns on one question and one question alone: Do the Palestinians and the Arab states recognize the right of Israel to exist? If yes, it is a negotiation over borders. If no, there is really nothing to discuss.

Which is why the summit should begin with candid and public discussions of this very issue. Will Syria's representative and the PLA's leaders announce once and for all in candid terms--in both English and Arabic--that they believe now, and will commit their peoples forever, to the right of Israel to exist as Israel exists today, a homeland for the Jewish people. Far too often Arab and Muslim leaders say one thing in English to appease international observers while saying quite the opposite to their own people.

Until we hear an emphatic, unqualified and bilingual yes to the question of Israel's right to exist, this summit--and all summits--will be charades."

I agree with Hugh Hewitt in that there is nothing to negotiate if you don't believe one side has the right to exist. Even though I think the odds are slim anything positive will come out of this - you cannot even hope for a "temporary lull" in violence because Hamas will not allow that to happen and Abbas has no control over them - there is that slim chance this time could be a bit different from the past because of the Middle East's increasing concerns over Iran and Islamic extremism.


By: Paul M. Weyrich

One does not have to be a supporter of former Gov. Mike Huckabee of Arkansas (as I am not) without admiring his ability to move ahead in the Iowa polls by sheer will.

Huckabee has limited staff and financial resources and is running few television commercials. He depends mainly upon Christian groups for a word-of-mouth campaign. He narrowly trails Mitt Romney, former governor of Massachusetts, among Iowa caucus voters. The question is whether he can sustain his momentum. It would seem that he is peaking too soon.

No one expected him to be a real contender in Iowa.

Meanwhile, Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., has ...............

Read more here.

Huckabee Is a Fiscal Conservative

As Mike Huckabee rises in the polls, an inevitable process of vetting him for conservative credentials is under way. As his political consultant in the early '90s, let me clue you in... Read the Full Story — Here.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Frank J. Gaffney, Jr.:
Gang-Rape in Annapolis, Saudi Style
It seems likely that Annapolis will feature an outpouring of sentiment on the following points: Israel must relinquish to its Palestinian and Syrian enemies territory essential to the defense and security of the Jewish State.
Read on.

The World Doesn't Hate America, the Left Does

One of the most widely held beliefs in the contemporary world -- so widely held it is not disputed -- is that, with few exceptions, the world hates America.

Read more of The World Doesn't Hate America, the Left Does by Dennis Prager.

The FairTax -- The Truth

By Neal Boortz

Last Thursday Townhall contributor Hank Adler published a column on this website entitled “A Hard Look At The Fair Tax (sic)”. Almost immediately the emails started pouring into my show – literally by the hundreds – urging me to post a response to Adler’s rather stinging critique of the FairTax.

Since Congressman John Linder, the author of H.R. 25, The FairTax Act, and I wrote “The FairTax Book” in 2005 we’ve seen an unprecedented and ever-growing nationwide interest in this tax reform idea. Let’s face it, you have to be doing something to capture the imagination of the American people to have a book on taxes debut No. 1 on The New York Times Bestsellers List. There are some, though not in what we call the mainstream media, who think that Governor Mike Huckabee’s embrace of The FairTax is an important element to his rise in the GOP presidential sweepstakes.

The FairTax eliminates all corporate, business and personal federal income taxes, all payroll taxes, capital gains taxes, dividend taxes and estate taxes, and replaces them all with ...........

Read on.

Jordan Vote Reflects Islamic Parties' Slide

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates, Nov. 26 -- Voters rebuked Islamic politicians in parliamentary elections in Jordan last week, following poor showings by Islamic-oriented political blocs in Egypt and Morocco over the past six months.

Islamic political movements are holding their ground in some other parts of the Middle East, but official manipulation of elections in Jordan and elsewhere is driving down voter turnout and curbing support for Islamic political blocs and political opposition groups overall, according to analysts, politicians and voters. In some cases, the Islamic groups have been hurt by internal dissension and political miscalculations.

Read more at washingtonpost.com

USA Today:
Feds work on detecting bombs in USA
Homeland Security aims technology at growing threat.

Second Night of Rioting in Paris Suburb

San Francisco Chronicle:
President has Democrats crying uncle in budget showdown

Fox News:
Somali Immigrant Gets 10 Years for Plotting With Al Qaeda to Blow Up Ohio Shopping Mall

Iranians Say Jews Are Behind Bombing Allegations
Iran’s former intelligence chief, a leading suspect in a 1994 terrorist bombing in Buenos Aires, has responded defiantly to Interpol’s decision to place him and five other men on its most-wanted list...

Bush Is Leaving Iraq ‘Consequences’ for Next Administration, Pelosi Says
President George W. Bush on Monday signed a “friendship and cooperation” agreement with Iraq that will help frame the future relationship between the two countries, the White House said. Democrats responded negatively...

Education Not Significant ’08 Issue, Analysts Say
Eight years ago, President Bush made education a signature issue in his first presidential campaign, and this year, Congress has been considering reauthorizing the No Child Left Behind Act, Bush’s signature piece of legislation on the issue. Nonetheless, education has thus far not emerged as a major issue in the 2008 presidential campaign...

Saudi official rules out handshake with Israelis

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia's participation in the U.S.-sponsored talks on Middle East peace was seen as a diplomatic coup for the Bush administration but the kingdom has made clear there will be no handshakes with Israeli officials.

"We are not here for theater. We are here for the serious business of making peace. We are not here to give an impression that everything is normal," Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal told reporters on Monday, on the eve of the conference to be held in Annapolis, Maryland.

"We will not do anything that will divert from the seriousness of the occasion, (such as) shaking hands to give an impression of something that is not there," he said.

Full article at Reuters

Monday, November 26, 2007

The 35W Bridge Collapse

As I have previously noted on this blog, one of my daughters was on this very road that day about 1/4 of a mile from it when it collapsed on August 1, 2007. She was on her way to a Minnesota Twins baseball game with her fiancee.

Her twin sister was on her way to the ball game, coming from Savage with her boyfriend, and they were to meet at the ballpark.

I had some anxious moments when I heard the breaking news while driving because I knew my one daughter would be crossing that bridge.

One of the survivors, Mercedes Gorden, is a friend and co-worker of my daughter from Savage.

The Minneapolis Star and Tribune has an amazing recap of the tragic collapse of the 35W bridge in Minneapolis, Minnesota that took place.

I don't know how long the link will be active, but if you clink on the link below, you will get a short flash presentation and then a picture of the collapsed bridge with a bunch of circles with numbers dotting the map, representing the various cars and their occupants.

If you click on a number, you will get a short video presentation about that victim.

The many stories of survival

Minneapolis Star Tribune
Updated: 11/26/07 - 5:39 AM

"Thirteen people died and hundreds of lives were changed the day the I-35W bridge fell. Hear the many stories of survival as part of our interactive presentation that shows where the cars were and who was in them."


A man died and went to heaven. As he stood in front of St. Peter at the Pearly Gates, he saw a huge wall of clocks behind him. He asked, "What are all those clocks?"

St. Peter answered, "Those are Lie-Clocks. Everyone on Earth has a Lie-Clock. Every time you lie, the hands on your clock will move."

"Oh," said the man, "whose clock is that?" "That's Mother Teresa's. The hands have never moved, indicating that she never told a lie." "Incredible," said the man.

"And whose clock is that one?" St. Peter responded, "That's Abraham Lincoln's clock. The hands have moved twice, telling us that Abe told only two lies in his entire Life."

"Where's Hillary Clinton's clock?" asked the man.

"Hillary's clock is in Jesus' office. He's using it as a ceiling fan."

“Liberty must at all hazards be supported.”
-- John Adams --

Commentary: The False Conservative

By Robert D. Novak
Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee is a frightening problem for the Republican Party. The Republican presidential hopeful is campaigning as a conservative, but serious Republicans know that he is a high-tax, protectionist, big-government advocate of a strong hand in the Oval Office directing the lives of Americans. Huckabee simply does not fiti n normal boundaries of economic conservatism...

Read more.

Texas Curbs Malpractice Suits, Attracting Doctors
The Boston Globe

EU Reform Treaty raises worry in the US:

Might affect US interests, analysts say

The Boston Globe

WASHINGTON - European nations are poised to ratify a treaty that would give the European Union sweeping power over the continent's security policies, raising concerns among homeland security specialists here that keeping track of suspected terrorists across the Atlantic may become more difficult for the United States.

Although the EU Reform Treaty has received scant attention in the United States, analysts say it could profoundly affect American interests. Until now, the US government has worked nation-to-nation with Europeans on homeland security matters from issuing visas to sharing intelligence.

But the treaty, which will be signed next month and subject to ratification by member countries next year, would increasingly centralize authority over security in the EU, which has been less willing to cooperate with the United States than the governments of some European countries.

Full story at The Boston Globe

Blogged with Flock

Islamists target Arizona base
Washington Times

Police beat anti-Putin protesters in Russia

Nearly 200 Putin critics detained
Boston Globe

Bush Insider Defections Greatly Exaggerated

Though things have begun to turn around in Iraq and Bush's perseverance is in route to vindication, don't expect any mea culpas from the Bush bashers. Predictably, we're just witnessing new tactics in their seven years war to destroy him.


Hu's China, as Stalin's Russia, Enshrouded in Oppression

Ethnic settlements of Uyghurs (who are of Turkish origin) exist in many countries, including the United States. But in China, such peaceful coexistence is not to be. The dictatorship of China wants its population to be homogeneous ethnically as well as culturally.


No Time for a Holiday From History

By Hugh Hewitt

When Bill Clinton proposed allowing gays to serve in the military in 1993, the military and the Congress reacted quickly to stop his move and did so not because of homophobia but because of the needs of the service. Since then the issue has not been the subject of a Congressional vote.

Now Hillary Clinton is demanding the law be changed so that gays can serve openly. This tells us that Senator Clinton is indeed far to the left of the country's mainstream, and also indifferent to the opinions of the military she wants to lead. Suddenly we are back in the 90s, debating how to make the military an agent of social change rather than the best instrument for fighting and winning wars.

Senator Clinton is to be complimented for her candor, but as the curtain rises on her radical politics across this and many other issues, voters have got to ask themselves if the world will allow us another holiday from history like the one we took under her husband's tenure.


Social Security to become key issue
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Three years after the collapse of President Bush's plan for private Social Security accounts, Republican presidential contenders are eager to try again. Not so the Democrats, who gravitate toward increasing payroll taxes on upper-income earners to fix the program's finances....

Thompson proposes tax choice
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Republican presidential hopeful Fred Thompson proposed an income tax plan Sunday that would allow Americans to choose a simplified system with only two rates: 10 percent and 25 percent....


Huckabee: America enslaved to Saudi oil
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Consumers are financing both sides in the war on terror because of the actions of U.S. ally Saudi Arabia, Republican presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee said Sunday....

I am extremely tired of hearing from people from every walk of life, and politicians in particular, complaining about oil, and being "held hostage" from someone, whether it be a middle eastern country or Venezuela with our buddy Chavez at the helm.

We know this. We have known it for a long time. Do something about it. Or, just shut the hell up!

Giuliani wants US to promote benefits
BEDFORD, N.H. (AP) -- Republican Rudy Giuliani said Monday the reputation of the United States has suffered globally not so much because of arrogant actions but for lack of salesmanship about benefits of democracy....

Australia's Rudd tackles global warming
SYDNEY, Australia (AP) -- Australia's Prime Minister-elect Kevin Rudd took advice Sunday on how to ratify the Kyoto Protocol on cutting greenhouse gas emissions and fielded phone calls from world leaders - starting in on work the day after a sweeping election victory....

Chavez: Colombia relations on ice
CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) -- Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said Monday that reconciliation is impossible with Colombia's president as the two leaders traded stern warnings in an escalating diplomatic crisis that threatens trade ties between the South American neighbors....


BAGHDAD — Iraq's government is prepared to offer the U.S. a long-term troop presence in Iraq and preferential treatment for American investments in return for an American guarantee of long-term security including defense against internal coups, The Associated Press learned Monday.

Read more:
Newsvine - Iraqis May Offer US Deal to Stay Longer

Blogged with Flock

Sunday, November 25, 2007


Fox News

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia — Saudi authorities on Sunday beheaded a citizen convicted of shooting a man in the head with an assault rifle, the Interior Ministry said.

In a statement carried by the official Saudi Press Agency, the ministry said that Ali bin Suweid Al-Domnan killed Diyab bin Ali al-Mansour following an argument in the southern city of Najran.

Saudi Arabia follows a strict interpretation of Islam under which those convicted of murder, drug trafficking, rape* and armed robbery are executed in public with a sword.

Sunday’s execution brought to 136 the number of people beheaded in the kingdom this year, according to an Associated Press count. Saudi Arabia beheaded 38 people last year and 83 people in 2005.

*When was the last time a man was charged with rape in the Saudi Kingdom? It seems to me the women are always at fault.


Clashes, buildings torched in Paris suburb

PARIS - Dozens of youths clashed with police and set fire to buildings in a Paris suburb on Sunday after two teenagers were killed in a crash with a police car.

The pair were riding on a stolen motorcycle when the accident happened on Sunday in the town of Villiers-le-Bel, north of Paris, a police union source said.


They Will Give PhD’s To Any Damn Fool With Money says AJ Strata. And yes, I do believe they will.

Study: Democrats the party of the rich

Washington Times

Democrats like to define themselves as the party of poor and middle-income Americans, but a new study says they now represent the majority of the nation's wealthiest congressional districts.

In a state-by-state, district-by-district comparison of wealth concentrations based on Internal Revenue Service income data, Michael Franc, vice president of government relations at the Heritage Foundation, found that the majority of the nation's wealthiest congressional jurisdictions were represented by Democrats.

He also found that more than half of the wealthiest households were concentrated in the 18 states where Democrats hold both Senate seats.

"If you take the wealthiest one-third of the 435 congressional districts, we found that the Democrats represent about 58 percent of those jurisdictions," Mr. Franc said.

A key measure of each district's wealth was the number of ..........

Read on.

Ex-Fighter in Iraq Tells His Story

Arab News

BURAIDAH — A young Saudi, who was brainwashed to fight in Iraq where he narrowly escaped death and suffered scarring to his face and hands in a failed suicide attack, recently called on young Saudis not to follow in his footsteps and be wary of militant groups in Iraq.

Ahmad Abdullah Al-Shaie, a young Saudi from Buraidah who describes himself as a victim, told Al-Riyadh newspaper that he was brainwashed into going to and fighting in Iraq. “The Iraqis who were supposed to train me and prepare me to fight the occupation tried to kill me by making me an unwilling suicide bomber,” said Al-Shaie, who was tricked into driving a truck full of explosives.

Full story.

New boss turns the tables on Al Qaeda

Ex-Sunni insurgent becomes U.S. ally

The once-dreaded Al Qaeda in Iraq stronghold of Amariyah has a new boss, and he's not shy about telling the story of the shootout that turned him into a local legend and helped change the tenor of the Iraq war.

Earlier this year, Abul Abed, a disgruntled Sunni insurgent leader, began secret talks with the Americans about ending Al Qaeda's reign of terror in this run-down, formerly middle-class Baghdad neighborhood, renowned as one of the city's most dangerous. He had been gathering intelligence on the group for months.

One day in late May, he said, he decided it was time to act.

He hailed the car carrying the feared .....

Continue reading at the Chicago Tribune.

Hezbollah raises specter of long Lebanon power void

BEIRUT (Reuters) - Lebanese opposition group Hezbollah said on Sunday that failure to reach agreement on a new president in the week ahead could leave the divided country without a head of state for a long time.

Iraqi school guard, wife beheaded as children watch

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - "Three suspected al Qaeda militants, including two sisters, beheaded their uncle and his wife, forcing the couple's children to watch, Iraqi police said on Friday.

The militants considered that school guard Youssef al-Hayali was an infidel because he did not pray and wore western-style trousers, they told police interrogators after being arrested in Diyala province northwest of Baghdad.

The three cousins executed Hayali and his wife Zeinab Kamel at the all-boys school in Jalawlah in Diyala province, village police chief Captain Ahmed Khalifa said."

Call it what you want, but this is what we are fighting against. These evil, sadistic barbarians must be stopped.

(H/T to Psycmeistr's Ice Palace)


Ed Morrissey at his Captain's Quarters blog comments on Richard Holbrook's opinion piece he wrote for the Washington Post where he (and this should come to no surprise to anyone) blamed President Bush for the current turmoil in Kosovo.

The good captain summarizes nicely:
Kosovo and the Balkans aren't our responsibility, diplomatically or in terms of national interest. The UN took over the Kosovo mission in 1999 -- not NATO, which did the initial fighting -- and the UN has remained stuck on stupid ever since. Russia blocks any attempt to recognize Kosovo's independence. This old story at Turtle Bay demonstrates the complete ineptitude of the UN when it comes to political pursuits.

Al-Qaeda kingpin: I trained 9/11 hijackers

From his Turkish jail, a senior terrorist claims a key role in atrocities around the world. --Times Online

Pakistan troops in Swat offensive

Pakistani troops have begun a major ground offensive against pro-Taleban militants in a former tourist resort in the North West Frontier province.

Military officials say more than 200 militants have been killed in the past week, but there is no independent confirmation of those figures.

A curfew has been imposed in the area around the Swat Valley, about 160km (100 miles) from Islamabad.

Thousands of civilians are reported to have fled from the fighting. Read full article here.

Towards Annapolis:

Is U.S. Policy Changing on Israel's Rights in a Peace Settlement?

By Dore Gold