The caption reads:
"Pearl Harbor survivor Houston James of Dallas embraces Marine Staff Sgt. Mark Graunke during a Veterans Day commemoration in Dallas yesterday.
Graunke lost a hand, a leg and an eye when he defused a bomb in Iraq last year.
This week's images of U.S. troops in combat in Fallujah deepened the day's significance for many who attended tributes held in San Diego and across the nation."
Thursday, May 29, 2008
Tommy Tuber ville didn't expect a weeklong goodwill trip through the Mid dle East to affect him like it did -- profoundly.
Tuberville discovered an un paralleled commitment by American soldiers, many barely out of their teens, and even those severely wounded in bat tle.
"It opened my eyes. I thought people went over there, dreaded going over there and couldn't wait to get back," ... "The leaders over there, this is their fourth or fifth or sixth..."The emotional peak for Tub erville came at a hospital when he and Weis approached a sol dier with severe injuries to both legs. Tuberville anticipated bit terness.
The soldier was anything but bitter...
Recent studies showing a decline in global incidents of Islamic terror have been interpreted as solely a Middle-East intramural affair. Sometimes the good news is said to be a naturally occurring phenomenon. We are supposed to believe that American policies of counter-terrorism at home have been of little value, if not McCarthyesque. Beefed-up security, the fight against the terrorists in Afghanistan and Iraq, and the cultural creation of a repugnance — and penalty — for jihadism (as in contrast to the 1990s), have likewise supposedly played no role.
But surely the catalyst for the decline in terrorist incidents worldwide was the radically different response of the U.S. to terrorism and 9/11 that finally brought jihadism into an open-shooting war against the West (e.g., cf. the Left’s “creating terrorists”), in which the terrorists are losing the battle-space, along with the hearts and minds of those in the Middle East — as their own websites and cries of anguish attest. [snip]
By the same token, the rise of governments that are sympathetic to the U.S. in France, Germany, and elsewhere in Europe is never associated with a shared and growing worry over Islamic radicalism — or a grudging, often private acknowledgment of the U.S. role abroad in beating back jihadism. How surreal to see a constitutional government in Iraq, with broad popular support, fighting and defeating terrorists and insurgents of both the Wahhabi and Iranian brand — at a time when the charge is that Iraq only made terrorism much worse. As we’ve seen from recent events, there are many governments abroad that deserve criticism, whether in China, the Sudan, or Burma -- but Iraq is not one of them.
So these are upside-down times when facts and events on the ground simply do not support the general pessimism of the Western media, the serial publication of gloomy he-did-it,-not-me memoirs about the post-9/11 supposed failures, and the shrill rhetoric of the Democratic primaries. [snip]
We have not won the war on terror, but we are starting to see how the combination of domestic security, international cooperation, military action, cultural ostracism of those who condone terrorism, and promotion of constitutional government in the Middle East can, and will, marginalize and eventually defeat the jihadists...
[Recommended > ]
It’s become fashionable [in the media] to match celebration of Israel ’s founding (though part of the media can’t even admit Israelis are celebrating) with Palestinian marking of their 1948 “nakba” catastrophe. Yet whose fault is it that they didn’t use those six decades constructively? And who killed the independent Palestinian state alongside Israel that was part of the partition plan? Answer: The Arab states and Palestinian leadership themselves...
With the help of U.S. defense contractors, China is building the prototype for a high-tech police state. It is ready for export.
Many of the big American players have set up shop in Shenzhen, but they look singularly unimpressive next to their Chinese competitors. The research complex for China's telecom giant Huawei, for instance, is so large that it has its own highway exit, while its workers ride home on their own bus line. Pressed up against Shenzhen's disco shopping centers, Wal-Mart superstores — of which there are nine in the city — look like dreary corner stores. (China almost seems to be mocking us: "You call that a superstore?") McDonald's and KFC appear every few blocks, but they seem almost retro next to the Real Kung Fu fast-food chain, whose mascot is a stylized Bruce Lee.
American commentators like CNN's Jack Cafferty dismiss the Chinese as "the same bunch of goons and thugs they've been for the last 50 years." But nobody told the people of Shenzhen, who are busily putting on a 24-hour-a-day show called "America" — a pirated version of the original, only with flashier design, higher profits and less complaining. This has not happened by accident. China today, epitomized by Shenzhen's transition from mud to megacity in 30 years, represents a new way to organize society. Sometimes called "market Stalinism," it is a potent hybrid of the most powerful political tools of authoritarian communism — central planning, merciless repression, constant surveillance — harnessed to advance the goals of global capitalism...
[as a fellow politico told me over a year ago: "China is something new" in its mixing of capitalism with totalitarianism - not a good thing. Not only does it stand to eat our lunch given our current rapid retreat from capitalism ourselves, but its successful model is rapidly being adopted by other nations - all of 'em despots, most notably Russia]
Tbilisi, Georgia - Georgia demanded Tuesday that Russia pay for a reconnaissance airplane that U.N. observers say was shot down by a Russian fighter jet. Russia criticized a U.N. report, expressing doubt about the video footage that was a prominent piece of evidence. (Snip) ''Russia initiates military actions against the country where it pretends to be a peacekeeper,'' Saakashvili told a government session.
Note to Iran apologists: Even the United Nations nuclear watchdog - a notoriously anti-American group and obsessively non-confrontational - isn't satisfied with Iranian explanations about its nuclear enrichment activities:
The International Atomic Energy Agency, in an unusually blunt and detailed report, said Monday that Iran's suspected research into the development of nuclear weapons remained "a matter of serious concern" and that Iran continued to owe the agency "substantial explanations." [snip]Why would the military have "played a role" in "parts of their nuclear program?" They're kidding, right?
"There are certain parts of their nuclear program where the military seems to have played a role," said one senior official close to the agency, who spoke on the condition of anonymity under normal diplomatic constraints. He added, "We want to understand why."
Sadly, no. This clueless group of bureaucrats is so concerned about telling the United Nations that Iran may be trying to build nukes that they usually praise the Iranians for their "cooperation" rather than confront them over technologies and hardware that have "dual use" capabilities.
The head of the IAEA Moahammed Elbaradei has even said he doesn't want to be responsible for starting a war between Iran and the US so he usually tempers his reports with so many caveats they are useless. As a document upon which the UN will take action, the report is a non-starter. There may be another round of watered down sanctions but that's it as far as the UN is concerned. Unless China and Russia suddenly change their minds, meaningful sanctions are out of the question.
Somewhere in Israel and probably in Washington, a clock is ticking and a countdown has begun. The world is running out of time to stop Iran from developing the capability to build nuclear weapons. Within a matter of months, they will have industrialized their enrichment capabilities. From there, it is another matter of months before they could enrich uranium to high enough levels to build a bomb.
Israel and America have said they will not allow that to happen. What the world will do to help still isn't clear.
You can buy and sell world currencies on a trading floor. And you can pick up produce at a neighborhood marketplace. But how do you construct a market for climate change pollution? (Snip) The latest public meeting of the Western Climate Initiative brought government together with the companies, students, labor unions, industry groups and environmental organizations eager to have a hand in shaping a cap-and-trade market for the West.
[read the paragraph again, re: who was 'brought together'. Excepting the student (being young they're supposed to be foolish), we're talking special interests front-to-back. The article speaks of capital-financiers and marketing pros and assuring all have 'a seat at the table'. Subject matter scientists are never mentioned. This is a boondoggle - what's being served 'at the table' is the American taxpayer]
The Russian owners of the Norilsk Nickel plant on the Kola Peninsula earned huge profits last year but haven't made any efforts to cut the plant's emissions. Nor have they taken up a Norwegian offer to fund a clean-up.
The metals plant [photo at left] is the largest source of sulphur dioxide emissions in Europe. It annually emits around 100,000 tons into the atmosphere, 4.2 times higher than Norway's total emissions. Never before has it released such high emissions, and never before has it earned so much money. Forbes Magazine estimated their wealth at about USD 45 billion.
Norway, which shares a border with Russia that adjoins the Kola Peninsula, has long been concerned about the plant's emissions. The Norwegian government has for years pledged NOK 270 million (USD 54 million) to help the plant cut emissions, but so far, nothing has happened...
[tell me again what our trillions spent on Kyoto would buy us? Russia and China aren't having any of it - but will make the occassional noise to see if the rest of us are foolish enough to cut our own economic throats with it]
Within two years, Chinese emissions of greenhouse gases will have vastly outstripped the reductions achieved by all the countries that have signed up to the Kyoto protocol combined. Using data provided by the Chinese government, researchers at the University of California have calculated that China's emissions by 2010 will be at least 600 million metric tonnes greater than they were in 2000. But the most likely outcome will be emissions of twice that figure.
[but we've florescent light bulbs forced upon us]
[meanwhile, in America...]
A conservation group gave notice Tuesday that it will sue to force federal action on a petition to list the Pacific walrus as a threatened species because of threats from global warming and offshore petroleum development. The deadline was May 8 for an initial 90-day review of the petition by the U.S. Department of the Interior, according to Center for Biological Diversity attorney Brendan Cummings.
[yes, these are the polar bear people, who have already stated that they intend to go right down the list of any & all potentially effected species with the goal of stopping all energy resource retrieval. The country does indeed need 'change']
We have Alexander Hamilton's assurances, from Federalist 78, that the judiciary is "the least dangerous" branch of government. Having "neither force nor will, but merely judgment," it "has no influence over either the sword or the purse; no direction either of the strength or of the wealth of the society; and can take no active resolution whatever."
Few passages from the Federalist seem as anachronistic today. Almost all social controversies seem to lead to the judiciary, and often up to the Supreme Court. So Roberts' report on the condition of the judiciary should interest a country selecting its next president, who, if he or she serves two terms, will fill about half the 875 seats on the federal bench. Now more than ever, but probably less today than tomorrow, the judicial branch is central to governance...
[the country needs 'change' indeed]
A Dallas suburb's ban on apartment rentals to illegal immigrants, an ordinance passed by city leaders and later endorsed in a vote by its residents, is unconstitutional, a federal judge found Wednesday.
Only the federal government can regulate immigration, U.S. District Judge Sam A. Lindsay concluded in his decision.
The city didn't defer to the federal government on the matter, violating the supremacy clause of the U.S. Constitution, which allows for the federal government to pre-empt local laws, Lindsay said.
[ok, ignoring the abysmal job the feds are doing, there's some logic there. So, what will be done about the 'sanctuary cities' violating the supremacy clause in the other direction?]
A father who was ordered by a judge to keep a close eye on his daughter's education has been jailed for six months after she failed a maths exam. Brian Gegner, of Fairfield, Ohio, was sentenced to 180 days in prison for "contributing to the delinquency of a minor". His daughter, Brittany, now 18, had a history of school truancy and a judge warned her father to make sure she passed her General Educational Development tests.
[sounds like a lousy father, but is this right? Are we ceeding to the state the right to subsume parentship based on arbitrary criteria? in attempting to prevent all harm of bad parents we're turning the government into ours]
Retirement-Fund Suits Allowed by U.S. Supreme Court
Participants in 401(k) and other retirement plans can file lawsuits claiming their individual accounts were mishandled, the U.S. Supreme Court said in a decision that bolsters the legal rights of 70 million people.
The court today unanimously allowed a suit by a man who says he lost almost $100,000 because his employer didn't make investment changes he requested. The court rejected business contentions that participants can sue only to enforce the rights of the entire plan, not to recover losses incurred by a single account.
Bloggers 'Nitwits Who Think They're Part of the News Media'
You pathetic little people of the blogosphere. You're nothing more than "nitwits at home with [your] computers" who've deluded yourselves into imagining you're "part of the news media." Just ask Mike Barnicle. The former Boston Globe columnist broke the tough truth to us on today's Morning Joe. WaPo editorial writer Jonathan Capehart was "so glad" to agree.
[typical: the 'professional' journo begins his piece with a blatant error: find a blogger that would claim any association with the media. they're really having trouble coping with the loss of their monopoly. aren't there 12-step programs for that kind of thing?]