« August 2007 | October 2007 »

September 1, 2007

Justice Opens Investigation Of Hsu

The Department of Justice has opened an investigation into the fundraising activities of Norman Hsu, the man who put over a million dollars into Democratic coffers while remaining a fugitive con man. They want to find out whether more than just coincidence linked heavy donation activity between Hsu and at least two households of more modest means -- and the answers could prove very embarrassing for top Democrats: The U.S. Justice Department is investigating possible campaign-finance violations by top Democratic fundraiser Norman Hsu, according to people familiar with the probe. On Friday, Mr. Hsu surrendered to California officials on an unrelated grand-theft charge dating to the early 1990s. Mr. Hsu, who, until earlier this week was one of the biggest fundraisers for Democratic presidential frontrunner Hillary Rodham Clinton, was booked at the San Mateo County jail, where he was handcuffed and later released on $2 million bail. Wearing a black...

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

The Beatings Will Continue Until Morale Improves

Hamas has found governance significantly more difficult than agitation, now that it owns the Gaza Strip. When confronted with unrest, they resorted to beating protestors, armed and unarmed, and threatened the Associated Press if they took pictures of the proceedings: A protest against Hamas rule by thousands of Fatah supporters turned violent yesterday when Hamas forces began dispersing the crowd, firing in the air and beating demonstrators. The clashes broke out after worshipers held a Friday prayer meeting outside a mosque in a Gaza City public square. Fatah has urged its backers to stay out of mosques, which it says are being used by Hamas to provoke factional fighting among Palestinians. About 20 people were injured in the clashes, including children, according to doctors and witnesses. Two journalists were beaten by Hamas supporters, although neither was seriously hurt. Two other French journalists suffered minor injuries from a small explosion. Fatah...

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

The New Hamsphire Debate, Brought To You By Fred Thompson

Fred Thompson will officially announce his candidacy for the Republican presidential nomination on Thursday, September 6th, which means he won't take an official role in the previous night's debate in New Hampshire. However, Thompson has decided to take another role for that event instead -- sponsor: Fred D. Thompson, the soon-to-be-official presidential contender, has come under a good deal of criticism in New Hampshire this week for scheduling his formal announcement for next Thursday morning and thus skipping the Republican debate in Manchester on Wednesday night. But that does not mean that television viewers watching the debate will not see him. Campaign officials said Friday that Mr. Thompson had bought a 30-second spot that would be televised nationally on the Fox News Channel, the network carrying the debate, just as viewers are tuning in at the onset. One campaign official familiar with the decision said the spot would be a...

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

A Harbinger Of 2008?

We're almost exactly a year out from the Republican National Convention, and we're already seeing agitators arrive in the Twin Cities. Yesterday, a bicycle rally turned into a melee when police attempted to arrest a rider who had reportedly acted provocatively (via Power Line): Police arrested 19 bicyclists, including three juveniles, after a protest ride took an ugly turn in downtown Minneapolis Friday night. About 200 bicyclists were riding on La Salle Avenue, with two officers monitoring the protest that called for reduced reliance on automobile transportation. The ride was also linked with weekend protests of next year's Republican National Convention in the Twin Cities. When officers tried to arrest a rider they felt had been trying to provoke them, a scuffle broke out, said Minneapolis Police Lt. Marie Przynski. "When the officer went to arrest him, his buddy came up, and they started to struggle with the officer," Przynski...

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

NARN, The State Fair Finale

The Northern Alliance Radio Network will be on the air today, with our six-hour-long broadcast schedule starting at 11 am CT. The first two hours features Power Line's John Hinderaker and Chad and Brian from Fraters Libertas. Mitch and I hit the airwaves for the second shift from 1-3 pm CT, and King Banaian and Michael Broadkorb have The Final Word from 3-5. If you're in the Twin Cities, you can hear us on AM 1280 The Patriot, or on the station's Internet stream if you're outside of the broadcast area. Today, we're holding our last State Fair appearance, and it's been a blast. Tune in to see what mischief we cook up at the Patriot's booth, south of the Horticulture building on Judson. Be sure to call 651-289-4488 to join the conversation!...

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

A Meaningless Quiz Show With No Prizes

Earlier today, I noted Fred Thompson's sponsorship of the Fox broadcast of the next Republican debate, and called it a "shrewd move", which resulted in some, ahem, mixed reviews from CQ readers. It occurred to me that I hadn't explained why I found Thompson's tweak of the debate such a sound move, or at least not in quite a while. Put simply, presidential debates are disasters waiting to happen to candidates. Good things almost never happen at them, and the format is calculated to play gotcha games with candidates in both parties. It forces a "lightning round" mentality onto complex policy issues that rewards simpletons and punishes the thoughtful. What candidate in his or her right mind would want to participate in that exercise? As an example of this, I've spent my afternoon racking my brain trying to find one debate appearance for any Republican candidate that actually resulted in...

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

Comments Still Humming, 24 Hours Later

So far, so good -- it looks like the last fix applied last night has really solved the commenting issue. I've timed the process at my home, with high-speed Internet access, and it looks like conmments are still executing in 5 seconds, perhaps less. A few commenters have posted their approval; hopefully we will no longer have any issues with comments....

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

September 2, 2007

Lebanon Wins Battle Of Nahr El-Bahred

The Lebanese Army finally defeated an al-Qaeda affiliate in the Palestinian refugee camp at Nahr el-Bared, a battle which started three months ago. Locals threw rice at the soldiers in celebration as the army occupied the camp: Lebanese troops took control on Sunday of a Palestinian refugee camp where they had been battling militants for more than three months, killing at least 31 fighters who tried to flee, security sources said. Twenty-three more fighters from the Fatah al-Islam group were captured, 12 of them wounded militants detained after the army took over the Nahr al-Bared camp in north Lebanon, a security source said. "The battle is over. The Lebanese army has seized the last positions of Fatah al-Islam in the camp," a senior security source told Reuters. "Most of the terrorists were killed today. The others have been captured. A few might have escaped but the army is hunting them...

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

Top Democrats To Punish Florida, Michigan

On Friday, three also-ran Democractic presidential candidates vowed to skip campaigning in Michigan and Florida after the DNC sanctioned the states for breaking rules on primary schedules. The impact of that pledge seemed marginal at best. It would take the top three candidates signing the pledge for it to have any effect -- and surprisingly, they have signed it: The Democratic candidates have signed a pledge that would forbid them from campaigning in states such as Michigan and Florida that have sought to move their presidential primaries into January 2008. The move ended weeks-long jockeying over which states get to hold early primaries. Democratic leaders in Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada, the four states that had been designated by the Democratic National Committee to hold early primaries, demanded in letters Friday that the candidates not participate in the early primaries of other states. The candidates either had to...

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

Taliban: Seoul Paid $20 Million For Hostages

The Taliban just released 19 South Korean missionaries that they abducted in Afghanistan weeks ago. While Seoul and NATO have remained quiet about the nature of the negotiations that resulted in their release, the Taliban have proudly proclaimed that they got over $20 million in exchange for the hostages. Guess what they want to do with the cash? SOUTH Korea paid Afghanistan's Taliban more than $20m (£10m) to release 19 missionaries they were holding hostage, a senior insurgent leader said yesterday, vowing to use the funds to buy arms and mount suicide attacks. The freed hostages flew out of Afghanistan on Friday to Dubai en route to South Korea. ... "We deny any payment for the release of South Korean hostages," an official at South Korea's presidential Blue House said in response to the Taliban claim. But the Taliban disagreed. "We got more than $20m from them [the Seoul government],"...

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

9/11 Remembrances: How Much Is Too Much?

It's doubtful that any newspaper outside of New York City could raise this question, but the Times asks whether we should set aside the anniversaries of 9/11 as a collective mourning date for the nation. How long should the remembrances dominate the day, and how many years should the city and nation conduct the familiar ceremonies of grief? Each year, murmuring about Sept. 11 fatigue arises, a weariness of reliving a day that everyone wishes had never happened. It began before the first anniversary of the terrorist attack. By now, though, many people feel that the collective commemorations, publicly staged, are excessive and vacant, even annoying. “I may sound callous, but doesn’t grieving have a shelf life?” said Charlene Correia, 57, a nursing supervisor from Acushnet, Mass. “We’re very sorry and mournful that people died, but there are living people. Let’s wind it down.” Some people prefer to see things...

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

North Korea Agrees To End Nuclear Programs

Talks in Geneva between North Korea and the US have produced a breakthrough on nuclear disarmament. Pyongyang has declared that it will end all nuclear-weapons efforts by the end of 2007, agreeing for the first time to account for its complete list of programs: North Korea agreed in weekend talks with the United States to fully account for and disable its nuclear programs by the end of this year, negotiators said on Sunday. "We had very good, very substantive talks," U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Chris Hill told reporters. "One thing that we agreed on is that (North Korea) will provide a full declaration of all of their nuclear programs and will disable their nuclear programs by the end of this year, 2007." North Korea's top nuclear envoy said separately his delegation was pleased with the outcome of the talks, held to hasten the end of Pyongyang's nuclear programme, a...

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

September 3, 2007

Bush Drops By Iraq

George Bush decided to kick-start the September debate on Iraq by getting his own feet on the ground in Anbar. He'll visit the troops, but more importantly meet directly with Nouri al-Maliki to determine how well the newly-announced political reform agreement is faring -- and talk with a few tribal leaders as well (via Memeorandum): Air Force One touched down under the blazing sun at Al Asad Air Base in Anbar province. The White House said the base was chosen because of the "remarkable turnaround" in the province. Bush has hailed Anbar -- a Sunni province west of Baghdad -- as a success, citing the U.S. military's alliance with tribal leaders in fighting al Qaeda in Iraq. Marine commanders on the ground told Bush that "morale is high," despite long troop rotations. Bush stayed primarily in Baghdad the last two trips he took to Iraq, but today he will stay...

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

The Biography As A Comic Book

Slate will serialize the latest biography of Ronald Reagan this week -- a "graphic" biography that will appear in five installments. After reading the first installment, I can report that it's everything one would expect from a comic book. It lacks insight, fresh perspective, and any kind of context -- and that's just the text. In the first 19 pages of what appears to be a biography of less than 100 pages, Andrew Helfer provides nothing but the same anecdotes that everyone who has read any Reagan biography already knows. We get the "lose the glasses" advice from a co-worker who made it to Hollywood, the ad-libbed baseball announcing, the alcoholic father -- all de riguer material for any Reagan biographer. In fact, that's all we get -- the stories we know married to comic-book representations of the anecdotes. The art, by Steve Buccellato and Joe Staton, hardly qualifies as...

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

Wake Us When It's Over

The Janjaweed have had so much success in Darfur that they have decided to go into overtime by attacking each other. The Arab tribes that have pushed out the Christians and the animists from Darfur have started a civil war amongst themselves -- and the latest victims have headed for the same refugee camps as the people they earlier victimized themselves: Some of the same Arab tribes accused of massacring civilians in the Darfur region of Sudan are now unleashing their considerable firepower against one another in a battle over the spoils of war that is killing hundreds of people and displacing tens of thousands. In the past several months, the Terjem and the Mahria, heavily armed Arab tribes that United Nations officials said raped and pillaged together as part of the region’s notorious janjaweed militias, have squared off in South Darfur, fighting from pickup trucks and the backs of...

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

Stupid Pundit Noises

Certain words and phrases tip off listeners to abject stupidity. "I think I'll buy another vowel" is one of them, as is "What this world is missing is a comic-book, er, graphic biography of Ronald Reagan." One phrase that tops them all has to be "Marxism has never really been tried," the mind-boggling assertion written by James Carroll and printed by the Boston Globe for its Labor Day opinion section (via Harry Forbes): The 19th-century dream of a workers' vanguard leading to a better world was both betrayed and realized, and in each case, labor was undercut. The betrayal occurred when tyrants, in advancing the cause of "the people," actually advanced themselves. The "dictatorship of the proletariat" turned out to be mere dictatorship. Yet the discrediting of the vision of Karl Marx by the 20th-century communisms that claimed him does not vitiate the original vision. Echoing what Mahatma Gandhi once...

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

Combat Deaths Decline In Iraq

McClatchy Newspapers note that despite the new aggressive strategy and tactics taken by the American forces in Iraq, combat deaths have dropped to half of their peak since the start of the surge. Or, perhaps, the decline may not come in spite of the new tactics after all (via QandO): American combat deaths in Iraq have dropped by half in the three months since the buildup of 28,000 additional U.S. troops reached full strength, surprising analysts and dividing them as to why. U.S. officials had predicted that the increase would lead to higher American casualties as the troops "took the fight to the enemy." But that hasn't happened, even though U.S. forces have launched major offensives involving thousands of troops north and south of Baghdad. American combat casualties have dropped to their lowest levels this year, even as violence involving Iraqis remains high. In fact, the combat death rate hit...

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

Ceacht Ghaeilge a hAon: Cád a Dúirt Sé?

Here's a lesson for those prospective Irish speakers among you -- all two or three of you, anyway. It's a joke sent to me via the Admiral Emeritus from my aunt in central California, but it gives readers a chance to learn a little Gaeilge for themselves, a particular passion of mine. An Irishman walking through a field in Ireland sees a man drinking water from a pond with his hand. The Irishman shouts "Na ól an t-uisce, tá sé lán de chac bo!" The man yells back "I'm English, speak English, I don't understand you". The Irishman shouts back "Use both hands, you'll get more in." So what did the Irishman say as Gaeilge? I'll answer in the comments later, but let's see if any CQ commenters can figure this one out....

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

Draper: Rove No Puppetmaster

The Washington Post previews an upcoming book that may change a few minds about Karl Rove and his supposed puppetmaster role in the Bush administration. Rove's advice did not always get followed as most imagine, but rather George Bush mostly kept his own counsel on larger policy and personnel decisions: Karl Rove told George W. Bush before the 2000 election that it was a bad idea to name Richard B. Cheney as his running mate, and Rove later raised objections to the nomination of Harriet E. Miers to the Supreme Court, according to a new book on the Bush presidency. In "Dead Certain: The Presidency of George Bush," journalist Robert Draper writes that Rove told Bush he should not tap Cheney for the Republican ticket: "Selecting Daddy's top foreign-policy guru ran counter to message. It was worse than a safe pick -- it was needy." But Bush did not care...

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

See Your Doctor Or Go To Jail?

John Edwards has a strange way of distilling foolishness to its essence, and he showed that talent yesterday when talking about his vision of health care. In remarks curiously ignored by newspapers today, Edwards insisted that his plan would force people to seek health evaluations, whether they desire one or not. It reveals the arrogance and the authoritarianism that waits around the corner when government-run healthcare gets imposed on a free society: Democratic presidential hopeful John Edwards said on Sunday that his universal health care proposal would require that Americans go to the doctor for preventive care. "It requires that everybody be covered. It requires that everybody get preventive care," he told a crowd sitting in lawn chairs in front of the Cedar County Courthouse. "If you are going to be in the system, you can't choose not to go to the doctor for 20 years. You have to go...

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

Hillary's Other Problematic Bundler

Having one major contributor with a criminal history of fraud can just be bad luck. Having two of them starts looking like a pattern. The Washington Post reports that Norman Hsu has some company with the Hillary Clinton campaign in Sant Charwal, who fled India ahead of the law but still has plenty of cash to throw at Hillary's campaign: Sant S. Chatwal, an Indian American businessman, has helped raise hundreds of thousands of dollars for Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's campaigns, even as he battled governments on two continents to escape bankruptcy and millions of dollars in tax liens. The founder of the Bombay Palace restaurant chain, Chatwal is one of a growing number of fundraisers in the 2008 presidential campaign whose backgrounds have prompted questions about how much screening the candidates devote to their "bundlers" while they press to raise record amounts. Chatwal's case reached from his native India...

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

September 4, 2007

Denmark -- The Next Target

Police in Denmark have arrested eight suspected al-Qaeda terrorists in Copenhagen as they have apparently foiled a terrorist attack. The men, ages 18 to 29, were found in raids at eleven addresses -- and authorities found more than just the men: Danish police have arrested eight people with alleged links to al-Qaeda on suspicion of planning a bomb attack. The eight suspects arrested late on Monday in Copenhagen form part of a terror cell with links to a senior al-Qaeda figure, police said. The suspects, aged between 19 and 29, were of Afghan, Pakistani, Somali and Turkish origin, police said. Police report that the men had been under surveillance for quite some time. They had begun producing an "unstable explosive" in a densely-populated area in preparation for an attack. They had lived in immigrant neighborhoods, but six of the eight have Danish citizenship. It's not the first time Denmark has...

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

Chemical Ali Soon Departing

Ali Hassan al-Majeed, the man responsible for ordering the chemical weapons attacks on Kurdish villages, will face execution within 30 days. "Chemical Ali" just began his latest trial in Baghdad, but like Saddam Hussein, he could shortly turn up absent from the proceedings: An Iraqi appeals court on Tuesday upheld the death sentence against Saddam Hussein's cousin, widely known as "Chemical Ali," for masterminding a genocidal campaign against Iraq's Kurds in the 1980s. "The nine appeal judges have upheld the death sentence against Ali Hassan al-Majeed, and according to the law of the court, the sentence must be carried out within 30 days," the chief prosecutor in the trial, Munkith al-Fatlawi, told Reuters. He said the court also upheld the death sentences against two other accused, Sultan Hashim, Saddam's former defense minister, and Hussein Rashid, the former deputy head of operations for the Iraqi military. Majeed, once one of the...

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

Has The Tide Turned In Iraq?

Kimberly Kagan makes a powerful case for a substantial change in fortunes in Iraq, and not just in the west. In today's Wall Street Journal, Kagan argues that the metrics and the momentum have shifted to the American and Iraqi security forces throughout the country as commanders ended the whack-a-mole campaign for good with the surge: The initial concept of the "surge" strategy in Iraq was to secure Baghdad and its immediate environs, which is why its proper name was the "Baghdad Security Plan." But as President Bush pointed out during his surprise trip to Iraq, operations and events on the ground are already showing successes well beyond Baghdad in Anbar, Diyala and Salahaddin provinces -- formerly al Qaeda strongholds and hotbeds of the Sunni insurgency. Considering the speed with which these successes have developed, and the rapidly growing grass-roots movement among Iraqis to support the effort, there is every...

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

Iranian Hardliners Get A Small Setback

Former president and relative moderate Hashemi Rafsanjani defied hardliners to win control of a key body in Iranian leadership. Rafsanjani will head the Expediency Council and become chair of the Assembly of Experts, which acts as liaison between the parliament and the Guardian Council, the real power in Iran: Former Iranian President Hashemi Rafsanjani was picked Tuesday to head a key clerical body empowered with choosing or dismissing the country's supreme leader, state media reported, in a vote seen as a setback for hard-liners in Iran's ruling establishment. Rafsanjani, long a major player in Iran's complex political scene who already heads a powerful government body called the Expediency Council, received 41 votes to become the chairman of the Assembly of Experts. The assembly is a group of 86 senior clerics charged with monitoring Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and choosing his successor. The Expediency Council arbitrates between legislators and another...

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

Is Minnesota Thompson Territory?

Straw polls have dominated the news of late, what with the Ames poll in Iowa resulting in a boomlet for Mike Huckabee and the Texas poll giving Duncan Hunter a much needed, and much deserved, second wind. Two polls in Minnesota have shown surprising strength for Fred Thompson, one all the more so because he wasn't even listed as a candidate. On August 22nd, the state GOP held a straw poll designed to help boost party donations at the River Center in St. Paul, emceed by local radio host Jason Lewis. Campaign activists for most candidates produced video presentations for poll attendees, but none for Thompson, who was at the time (as now) a non-candidate. His name did not appear on the ballot. On the strength of write-ins, though Thompson won the poll. Exact percentages were not given, nor could I get candidate totals after a phone call to the...

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

And The Lord Spake, Thou Shalt Caucus First In Iowa

Guess who said this in Sioux City over the weekend as a reason to bolster Iowa's pre-eminent place in the primary structure (via Instapundit): “Iowa, for good reason, for constitutional reasons, for reasons related to the Lord should be the first caucus and primary." I'll give you a hint: it's not Pat Robertson or George Bush -- but if it was, can you imagine the outcry? At Heading Right, I reveal the identity of the prophet and wonder whether the usual suspects will start clamoring about the separation of church and state. For that matter, will Constitutional scholars be able to dissect the reference? UPDATE: Was this a joke? The attendees didn't think so, and the next line from the candidate reminded the audience that he signed the pledge to protect Iowa's position. Michael van der Galien has more: We also see a double standard at work, although the people...

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

Pakistan Hit By Bombs, Political Intrigue

A pair of bombs killed two dozen people in Rawalpindi today, striking at the heart of military power in Pakistan. The terrorist attack comes at the same time as Pervez Musharraf began rounding up political dissidents supporting an exile who plans to return soon: A pair of explosions during rush hour early Tuesday killed at least 24 people and injured scores more in the city of Rawalpindi, home to Pakistan's military. One of the bombs struck a bus apparently carrying government employees, and the other exploded in a busy market area near the nation's military headquarters. Such attacks are highly unusual in Rawalpindi, which is one of Pakistan's largest cities, and also one of its most secure because of the heavy presence of security personnel. The bus blast seemed to be the more deadly of the two, with the vehicle all but destroyed, according to witnesses. Officials said the bus...

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

Captain's Quarters Radio: NRO's Jim Geraghty

Today on Captain's Quarters Radio (2 pm CT), Jim Geraghty from The Campaign Spot joins us to talk about Fred's launch, as well as the upcoming battle in Congress over Iraq. Call 646-652-4889 to join the conversation! Did you know that you can listen to Captain's Quarters Radio through your TiVo service? Click here for the instructions. Also, you can subscribe to Captain's Quarters Radio through iTunes now by clicking this link:...

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

New Name For BlogTalkRadio Show

We have a couple of announcements for my BlogTalkRadio show. We have a new name, Heading Right Radio with Ed Morrissey. BTR and I have decided that we want to brand the talk show name with the BTR blog brand, but that doesn't imply any shift from my blogging here at Captain's Quarters. It's designed to strengthen the brand at BTR, and since we rarely used the entire Captain's Quarters name before today, it allows for a fairly simple transition. We have some exciting guests booked for the show in the next couple of weeks. First, on Thursday we will have Michael Ledeen on tape introducing his new book, The Iranian Time Bomb: The Mullah Zealots' Quest for Destruction. It comes out this month and may have no better relevance than now. I'm also happy to announce that Laura Ingraham will appear on Monday, September 17th to talk about...

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

Advisers To Bush: Stay The Course

The commander of the military forces in Iraq and the man in charge of American diplomacy in Baghdad have urged him to continue on the present course. The AP reports that both General David Petraeus and Ambassador Ryan Crocker see real progress as a result of the strategic and tactical changes and want to build on their successes: President Bush's senior advisers on Iraq have recommended he stand by his current war strategy, and he is unlikely to order more than a symbolic cut in troops before the end of the year, administration officials told The Associated Press Tuesday. The recommendations from the military commander in Iraq, Gen. David Petraeus, and U.S. Ambassador Ryan Crocker come despite independent government findings Tuesday that Baghdad has not met most of the political, military and economic markers set by Congress. Bush appears set on maintaining the central elements of the policy he announced...

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

Footing The Bill For Hsu

Flip Pidot at Suitably Flip has done a marvelous job in ferreting out the financial contributions of Norman Hsu to the Democratic Party and dozens of its candidates over the last few years. Whether bundling the donations of others or contributing directly, the convicted con man has made himself indispensable to high-powered Democrats such as Hillary Clinton, Andrew Cuomo, Ed Rendell, and Eliot Spitzer. In fact, Hsu has raised over $1.5 million for Democrats in one way or another, and his modest-means associates have donated some eye-popping amounts as well: Hillary Clinton took by far the most money from Hsu and his suspect donor network - $174,000 net of refunds. Clinton has agreed to turn over only Hsu's direct contributions (just 13% of the total) to charity. Tied for the biggest windfall from Hsu directly were New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo and New York Governor (and former Attorney General)...

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

Privatization Never Works: Hillary

Hillary Clinton has an interesting view of the American economy, if her remarks to the AARP serve as any sort of guide. She told its legislative conference that Social Security is the "most successful domestic program" in American history, and that only government can make the necessary decisions for its beneficiaries (via reader Online Analyst): "This is the most successful domestic program in the history of the United States," Clinton said to applause from seniors gathered in Washington to push their policy agenda. "When I'm president, privatization is off the table because it's not the answer to anything." She also said she does not support cutting benefits or increasing the retirement age. Seniors can begin collecting partial benefits at age 62, with full benefits available at age 67 for those born in 1960 or later. Clinton said instead she will protect the program through fiscal responsibility and criticized President Bush's...

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

September 5, 2007

Craig Still Playing Footsie

Larry Craig pleads guilty. Larry Craig proclaims his innocence. Larry Craig announces his resignation. Larry Craig says he may not resign. Larry Craig has a serious problem in making decisions: Sen. Larry E. Craig (R-Idaho) is reconsidering his announced intention to resign, if he can clear his name of criminal and ethics charges before the end of the month, a spokesman said last night. Other Craig aides, however, sent mixed signals yesterday about the strength of the senator's desire to remain in the chamber as he pursues a legal challenge to his guilty plea stemming from an undercover sex sting in an airport restroom, as well as an investigation by the Senate Ethics Committee. ... Dan Whiting, Craig's Washington spokesman, told The Washington Post in an e-mailed statement last night: "As he stated on Saturday, Senator Craig intends to resign on September 30th. However, he is fighting these charges, and...

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

Germans Stop Terrorist Plot Against Ramstein

German security forces arrested three terrorists this morning in an apparent plot to attack an American military base. The cell had acquired a large amount of bomb-making materials and had trained in Pakistan to carry out their mission: Three suspected Islamic militants were arrested for allegedly plotting "imminent" and "massive" attacks on the Ramstein Air Base, a major U.S. and NATO military hub, and Frankfurt's busy international airport, German authorities said Wednesday. German federal prosecutor Monika Harms said the three — two of whom were German converts to Islam — had trained at terror camps in Pakistan and procured some 1,500 pounds of hydrogen peroxide for making explosives. And a top legislator said the group could have struck "in a few days," noting a "sensitive period" that includes the anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks. ... The three suspects — two Germans, aged 22 and 28, and a 29-year-old Turk...

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

Visit Britain. Leave Your DNA Sample At The Door.

A senior law lord in the UK has proposed that the government take DNA samples from the entire population and store the records in a national database. Not only would that order apply to every British subject and resident, but it would also apply to tourists as well: The whole population and every UK visitor should be added to the national DNA database, a senior judge has said. Lord Justice Sedley said the Wales and England system, under which 4m people's DNA is held whether guilty or cleared of a crime, was "indefensible". He added it would be fairer to include "everybody, guilty or innocent", as it was biased against ethnic minorities. This isn't a passing bit of lunacy from an isolated judge, either. Tories have called for a Parliamentary debate on making the DNA database compulsory. The president of the Black Police Association claims that only through compulsory and...

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

NYT: Hsu Shows Need For Government Control Of Election Financing

The New York Times editorial board takes up the case of Norman Hsu and Sant Chatwal today, but not to excoriate their Senator, Governor, and state Democratic Party for their dealings with the pair. Instead, the Gray Lady claims Hsu and Chantwal as exhibits A and B for their argument to push for public financing of elections: The presidential candidates’ gross money marathon is leaving them increasingly open to shady backslappers securing privileged access with big bags of campaign cash on the barrelhead. Senator Hillary Clinton has been burned twice lately by so-called bundlers — aspiring power brokers who harvest large amounts of smaller donations and bundle them into irresistibly giant packages. One Clinton bundler turned out to have an outstanding arrest warrant for business fraud; the other has a history of tax liens, fraud charges and bankruptcy proceedings on two continents. Other candidates in both parties have been similarly...

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

Putin, German Parts, And Iranian Reactors

Germany has an export ban on transfers of technologies associated with nuclear reactors to Iran, in accordance with UN sanctions and its own security policies. However, German systems have been found in the new nuclear reactor at Bushehr, much to the consternation of German authorities. Der Spiegel traces the transactions back to Russia, and Vladimir Putin: A deal involving industrial equipment attracted the attention of prosecutors and customs investigators to S., who has been doing business in German for more than a decade. The electromagnetic brakes, switchgear, spring elements and special cables that the 46-year-old businessman bought up in Germany between 2001 and 2004 were bound for the Iranian nuclear power plant in Bushehr -- a central project in the nuclear program of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. ... The case's true political explosiveness lies in the structure of the business relationships it involved. The Potsdam prosecutors now believe that they...

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

Ask Your Questions Of Fred Thompson

The announcement of Senator Fred Thompson's bid for the presidency is scheduled for tomorrow, after tonight's New Hampshire debate. That has some people frustrated that Thompson won't take part in the debate tonight (he will advertise at the beginning of the show instead), and wonder when Thompson plans to engage. This morning, the Thompson campaign answered with a new program designed to answer directly to blog readers, such as the community here at Captain's Quarters: On Thursday, Fred Thompson will be kicking off his campaign for the presidency in Des Moines, IA, touring through the early primary states of Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina before visiting Florida and returning to Lawrenceburg, TN for a homecoming celebration. While on this tour, Fred Thompson will be answering the tough questions, whether they come from a voter at a town hall meeting in New Hampshire or from the nation’s top journalists. However,...

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

Musharraf's Options Narrowing

Pervez Musharraf sees fewer and fewer options for remaining in power, and he may decide to declare an emergency despite pressure from the US and the West. The warning of de facto martial law comes as Musharraf negotiates with Benazir Bhutto for her return and her alliance against the extremists that Musharraf once courted: A top adviser to Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf acknowledged Tuesday that the general's options for staying in power are increasingly bleak and said that a declaration of emergency is being considered as a way of keeping him in office. Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain, president of the ruling Pakistan Muslim League, said that while a complete military takeover under martial law had been ruled out, a state of emergency that would allow for the postponement of elections for up to a year and the curtailment of individual liberties was still on the table. "Martial law is a very...

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

Hsu On The Lam -- Again

Who'd have predicted this? Norman Hsu, the convicted con man and Democratic fundraiser extraordinaire, has skipped bail -- again (via Michelle Malkin): California businessman Norman Hsu, a former New York apparel executive and major contributor to Democratic candidates and causes, failed to appear for a bail reduction hearing Wednesday, leading to speculation that he again is a fugitive from the law, FOX News has learned. Hsu's attorneys say they do not know his whereabouts, and that their client did not surrender his passport. Let's see. After pleading guilty to fraud in 1991, Hsu jumped bail rather than appear at his sentencing hearing for his agreed-upon three-year stretch. Fifteen years later, the long arm of the law finally caught up with Hsu after funneling over $1.5 million to Democrats around the country. So what did the California court do? Let him out on bail again -- and Hsu has apparently skipped...

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

Heading Right Radio: Where In The World Is Norman Hsu?

Today on Heading Right Radio (2 pm CT), we'll welcome two great guests. First, Robert Bluey of the Heritage Foundation joins us to talk about Hillary Clinton's assertion that Social Security needs no reform and that "privatization never works". Fausta will be our guest in the second half to preview the debate. I'm going to ask both where they think Norman Hsu has hotfooted it after jumping bail for the second time, and we're going to talk about Fred Thompson's new blog effort as well. Call 646-652-4889 to join the conversation! Did you know that you can listen to Heading Right Radio through your TiVo service? Click here for the instructions. Also, you can subscribe to Heading Right Radio through iTunes now by clicking this link:...

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

Obama's Fundraiser Woes (Update: More Info On Jaws' Connections)

UPDATE: A commenter tries to pass this off as a smear by the Post by claiming that Alexi Giannoulias didn't administer the loans to Michael "Jaws" Giorango and that Giannoulias was only 18 years old when Jaws got convicted of his crimes. Donna uses one out-of-context sentence from this Rich Miller column in 2006 to bolster that argument -- "There’s no real indication that the Giannoulias family bank did anything illegal. The younger Giannoulias didn’t even work at the bank when most of this stuff went down." However, that's not really true. First, Jaws got convicted of crimes in 1989 and 1991, when Alexi Giannoulias was 13 and 15, respectively, but also in 2004, when Alexi was 28 and in charge of loans at the family bank. He also admitted to approving loans to Jaws and his associates in 2005 in order for them to buy a casino fleet in...

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

Uncle Chuck's Goalpost Movers, Inc.

Chuck Schumer wants America to know that the men and women of the armed forces are basically a bunch of incompetents who can't fight terrorists. The Senator said that the departure of al-Qaeda from a vast swath of western Iraq had nothing to do with the new, aggressive military strategy and tactics of the US forces there, but instead because of "warlords" that America has enabled: And let me be clear, the violence in Anbar has gone down despite the surge, not because of the surge. The inability of American soldiers to protect these tribes from al Qaeda said to these tribes we have to fight al Qaeda ourselves. It wasn't that the surge brought peace here. It was that the warlords took peace here, created a temporary peace here. And that is because there was no one else there protecting. Remember when the criticism of the Bush administration was...

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

Presidential Debate Live Blog & Roundtable At Heading Right

Tonight, the crew at Heading Right will live-blog the Republican presidential debate in New Hampshire. The debate starts at 8 pm CT and runs to 9:30 pm CT on Fox News Channel. We'll have several of our A-list hosts commenting on the debate in real time, so be sure to keep hitting the refresh button and follow along with the analysis. At 10 pm CT, I'll moderate a post-debate roundtable with four BTR hosts. Fausta Wertz, Rick Moran, Jim Lynch, and Mac Ranger will review the event and talk about the high and low points for the participants. I imagine we'll also discuss Fred Thompson's decision to announce tomorrow rather than earlier and miss this debate. Be sure to tune in! UPDATE AND BUMP: We're under way!...

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

Debate Wrap-Up

The New Hampshire debate has finally ended, and once again, nothing will really resonate past the next couple of days. Mitt Romney and Rudy Giuliani had a pretty good night. Both of them sounded sharp and handled the tough questioning by Fox. Giuliani gets the edge here in that he really had no bad moments in the debate; he took a couple of potential problem questions and worked them to his advantage, including one about his personal life. Romney got hit pretty hard by a military father who was clearly upset by Romney's glib answer about his sons volunteering to help his political campaign as somewhat equivalent to military service. He also had a bit of a wobble on Chris Wallace's "Fee-Fee" characterization, which will stick with Romney, I think; it's just too funny to miss. And it's one of the reasons I think these debates are nothing but campaign...

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

September 6, 2007

Thompson Announces On Leno

Fred Thompson managed to overshadow the New Hampshire presidential debate by officially announcing his candidacy earlier in a taped session of The Tonight Show. Noting that "it's a lot more difficult to get on the Tonight Show than a presidential debate," Thompson wound up getting more air time -- and more questioning -- than any of the debate's attendees: After months of false starts, staff shake-ups, and questions about the seriousness of his intention to run for president, Fred Thompson rolled out his presidential candidacy this evening with a two-pronged, guerrilla-style entry into the race that sought to take the spotlight from his Republican opponents as they squared off in a debate. Choosing “The Tonight Show With Jay Leno” to declare “I’m running for president of the United States,” Mr. Thompson said, “I don’t think people are going to say, ‘That guy would make a very good president but he...

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

An Autumn Offensive?

Taliban elements have stepped up attacks on NATO forces in Kandahar and Helmand provinces over the last week. They have ambushed British and American forces in fairly large numbers, sometimes throwing hundreds of their fighters into the battles. The new autumn offensive appears more vigorous than the fizzled spring offensive -- but every bit as disastrous: International and Afghan troops backed by air power killed scores of Taliban militants as heavy fighting intensified across southern Afghanistan, officials said Thursday. The latest bloodshed in the insurgency-hit southern desert provinces of Kandahar and Helmand took the rebel toll in recent days to more than 350, while two British troops have also died. More than 40 Taliban fighters were killed in a 12-hour battle on Wednesday with US-led coalition forces in Kandahar's Shah Wali Kot district, where rebels appeared to have regrouped in recent weeks, the coalition said. A small group of rebels...

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

Syria Fires At Israeli Planes

The Syrian government announced this morning that it had fired at Israeli military planes that had violated its airspace. So far, the BBC has not reported a response to this announcement from Israeli government or military sources: Syria says its air defences have opened fire on Israeli war planes which had entered Syrian airspace. The action took place "without causing human or material loss", according to the official Syrian news agency, SANA. The agency says Israeli jets entered Syrian airspace from the Mediterranean Sea heading northeast at dawn on Thursday, but were forced to leave. This sounds a little fishy. Why would Israeli military jets overfly Syria from the Mediterranean -- and especially heading northeast? Where would they be going, Iraq or Turkey? Neither nation would have given them an especially friendly aloha. The pilots would have to have been seriously lost to have flown such a mission. Besides the...

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

California Didn't Consider Hsu A Flight Risk

Sometimes politicians can be so adorable when they're clueless, and California Deputy Attorney General Ralph Sivilla is a case in point. The New York Times' Leslie Wayne and Carolyn Marshall asked Sivilla why the state didn't ask to keep Hsu locked up without bail, and Sivilla had to defend that decision while Hsu high-stepped it to Oakland and perhaps points beyond: Ralph Sivilla, a deputy California attorney general, said the government had believed that Mr. Hsu was not a flight risk, based on the amount of his bail, his promise to relinquish his passport to the court and the fact that he had turned himself in. “Those circumstances had seemed to suggest that he was not a flight risk,” Mr. Sivilla said. “There was something hanging over his head. There were things in place.” When asked whether he thought Mr. Hsu had left the country, Mr. Sivilla said, “I would...

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

Russia Could Lose Uranium Source

Australia's John Howard warned Russia that uranium sales could end if Russia does not take steps to guarantee that their product doesn't wind up in Iran or Syria. Following on the heels of Der Spiegel's exposure of Russian machinations to get German equipment to Bushehr, an Australian rejection could make it difficult for Putin to act as an energy czar in Asia: Australian Prime Minister John Howard said on Thursday he would tell Russian President Vladimir Putin that he would not approve the sale of uranium to Moscow if there was any possibility it could be resold to Iran or Syria. Howard said he would put Putin "through the ropes" when he meets him on Friday in Sydney on the sidelines of an Asia-Pacific leaders' forum. ... Australia, with 40 percent of the world's reserves of uranium, exports the mineral to 36 nations and hopes to sign a deal with...

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

I Guess Uncle Chuck Didn't Read This, Either

Last night, I posted about Chuck Schumer's jaw-dropping assertion that the US military had nothing to do with the success in Anbar, Diyala, and western Iraq in throwing off al-Qaeda goons. I noted that Chuck apparently never bothered to read reports from independent journalists who have reported from the front during the surge. He also hasn't bothered to read the foreign press, including war critic Martin Fletcher of the Times of London, who spelled out clearly what role the Americans played in destroying AQI's grip on the region in a story from a week ago (h/t: commenter Bennett, and empahses mine): I had met Captain Patriquin while embedded with US troops in Ramadi last November. He was a big man, moustachioed, ex-Special Forces, fluent in Arabic and engaged in what was then a revolutionary experiment for a US military renowned for busting doors down. He and a small group from...

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

Democrats Try Character Assassination On Petraeus

If anyone wants a lesson in how to lose a reputation for diligence, honor, and honesty, all they need to do is get confirmed by Congress for a vital role in American security. Eight months after the Senate confirmed David Petraeus as commander of American forces in Iraq, the same Senators who voted for his confirmation have now begun a character-assassination campaign to discredit him. At Heading Right, I look at the sudden use of the phrase "the Bush report" in describing Petraeus' testimony, and how it seeks to undermine the integrity of this career officer for the political expediency of the anti-war Democrats. Of particular note is the fact that the same Senators who didn't cast a single vote against this highly-regarded commander taking over the effort in Iraq suddenly feel that Petraeus would conspire with George Bush to deliver a dishonest report to Congress. Which is more likely...

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

Heading Right Radio: Michael Ledeen, Adam Lambert

Today on Heading Right Radio (2 pm CT), new BTR associate Adam Lambert joins us to talk about his new job as my counterpart with the progressive radio hosts. We may debate a little while we're at it, so be sure to call and get your arguments heard! Also, I interviewed Michael Ledeen earlier today about his new book, The Iranian Time Bomb: The Mullah Zealots' Quest for Destruction. You won't want to miss this interview, and the book is even better. Call 646-652-4889 to join the conversation! Did you know that you can listen to Heading Right Radio through your TiVo service? Click here for the instructions. Also, you can subscribe to Heading Right Radio through iTunes now by clicking this link:...

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

Craig Continues His Tap Dance

Senator Larry Craig continues his curious tap-dance on the national stage today. After offering broad hints that he planned to rescind his resignation, Craig's office now says that he will almost certainly depart unless Minnesota overturns his guilty plea before September 30th: Sen. Larry Craig has all but dropped any notion of trying to complete his term, and is focused on helping Idaho send a new senator to Washington within a few weeks, his top spokesman said Thursday. "The most likely scenario, by far, is that by October there will be a new senator from Idaho," Craig spokesman Dan Whiting told the Associated Press. The only circumstances in which Craig might try to complete his term, Whiting said, would require a prompt overturning of his conviction for disorderly conduct in a men's room at the Minneapolis airport, as well as Senate GOP leaders' agreement to restore Craig's committee leaderships posts...

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

Bruce Bartlett And His Scientology Fixation

When Bruce Bartlett wrote a scathing critique in the Wall Street Journal eleven days ago on the Fair Tax, I pointed out although much of what he wrote intrigued me, his strange use of Scientology's long-defunct connection to the proposal amounted to demagoguery. This led to a brief e-mail exchange between Bartlett and me, in which he claimed that "I didn’t actually mean to smear the FairTax by mentioning the Scientology connection," and that "As far as I know, there is no direct connection between the FairTax organization and Scientology." I offered to post his replies as a means of clarifying his intent, but he replied that he would respond in more detail in another forum. He's as good as his word. Today, Bartlett writes about the Fair Tax at The New Republic, and he drags Scientology back into the argument again. This time, however, he extends it into a...

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

Only His Hairdresser Knows For Sure

Osama bin Laden will release a new video for the sixth anniversary of the 2,996 murders he ordered on September 11th, 2001. What does a psychopathic mass murderer have to say that has any interest to the world? Apparently he needs to debut his new facial hair style: Osama bin Laden will release a new video in the coming days ahead of the sixth anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks in what would be the first new images of the terror mastermind in nearly three years, al-Qaida's media arm announced Thursday. Analysts noted that al-Qaida tends to mark the Sept. 11 anniversary with a slew of messages, and the Department of Homeland Security said it had no credible information warning of an imminent threat to the United States. Still, bin Laden's appearance would be significant. The al-Qaida leader has not appeared in new video footage since October 2004, and he...

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

Thompson Has Your Questions

Yesterday, the campaign team for Fred Thompson asked the Captain's Quarters community to participate in a new kind of interactive forum. They gave us the opportunity to ask specific, substantive questions of Senator Thompson and submit a few representative entries to the campaign. Next week, Thompson will answer these questions as well as some from a few other blogs in videotaped messages through his campaign website. Earlier today, they asked me to select the questions for the candidate. In order to allow reader participation for the selection as well as the generation of questions, I asked longtime faithful readers Peyton and Deb to form a committee with me. Together we came up with six -- we pushed the limit a little on that -- and sent them to the campaign late this afternoon. They've indicated their delight with the process, and we should start seeing the answers soon. Most of...

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

September 7, 2007

Slippery Hsu Caught In Colorado

State and federal authorities arrested the fugitive of the year, Democratic fundraiser Norman Hsu, last night in Colorado. Paramedics took him off a train heading for Chicago on a backboard, and he spent the night in the hospital with an unknown illness or injury (via Memeorandum): Fugitive political fundraiser Norman Hsu, who skipped out on San Mateo County authorities this week rather than face sentencing for a 1992 fraud conviction, was apprehended Thursday night by federal and local lawmen in Grand Junction, Colo. Authorities said Hsu was taken into custody at St. Mary's Hospital in Grand Junction at 7 p.m. local time. He had been on the lam for almost two days after failing to appear in a Redwood City courtroom Wednesday to surrender his passport. Hsu was taken off a passenger train at the Grand Junction train station earlier in the day by paramedics who requested a backboard to...

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

Send Them The Bill

In yet another entry in the Russia Is Not Our Ally series, the UK had to scramble fighters to intercept eight Russian Tupolev-95 Bear bombers as they appeared headed for British airspace. The Russians have bragged about provoking NATO fighters in this manner, and it's becoming an expensive game, at least for the West: The RAF scrambled to intercept eight Russian nuclear bombers heading for Britain yesterday in the biggest aerial confrontation between the two countries since the end of the Cold War. The Tupolev-95 Bear bombers were approaching in formation when they were met by four Tornado F3 fighter jets. Defence sources said that the Russian pilots turned away as soon as they spotted the approaching Tornados and did not enter British airspace. Norway had earlier sent four F16 jets to shadow the Russians as they neared its airspace in what Moscow insisted was a training mission. The bombers...

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

Thompson Will Challenge For Iowa

Fred Thompson spent the day of his official launch campaigning in Iowa, seeking to exploit the diffidence Republican voters have felt over the slate of GOP candidates in the state. Some wondered whether Thompson might have focused on Super Tuesday states first, especially in the South, but the campaign feels that Thompson has an opportunity to surprise people in Iowa: Fred D. Thompson took his bid for the White House to the campaign trail Thursday, vowing to compete aggressively for the support of Iowans and pitching steady, experienced and conservative leadership. "I still have the same common-sense conservative beliefs I did when I ran in 1994," the former senator said in a speech at a Des Moines conference center, a not-so-subtle reference to criticism about the changing positions of his main Republican rivals, former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney and former New York mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani. "The preseason is over,"...

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

Did Ed Schultz Assault A Woman In A Bar?

What is it with left-wing radio hosts? Al Franken squared off on Laura Ingraham's producer at the 2004 Republican National Convention and tackled a protestor at a Democratic rally. Now Ed Schultz apparently bruised a woman after arguing politics with her and her husband in a Detroit Lakes, Minnesota bar (via Power Line): The conversation went sour when Nagle said he respects Joe Lieberman, the Independent Democratic senator from Connecticut known for supporting the Iraq war. Nagle said Schultz said he doesn’t like Lieberman, and then commented that if Nagle felt so strongly about the war, his family should go over and fight in it. The daughter of Nagle’s fiancee serves in the Army and may soon go to Iraq. His fiancee’s son-in-law has served in Iraq. “It was at that time that Mr. Schultz completely lost control, in my opinion,” Nagle said. “He became enraged, and then our interactions...

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

Anti-Semitism Is As Anti-Semitism Does

Clinton administration official Jeff Robbins wonders in today's Wall Street Journal why people like Jimmy Carter, Stephen Walt, and John Mearsheimer seem so obsessed with American Jews exercizing their right to political speech, and so silent about the influence of Wahabbist petrodollars competing in the same arena. The former American delegate to the highly anti-Semitic UN Human Rights Commission points out that Saudi Arabia drops millions of dollars and leverages political clout through its commercial partners to pursue its anti-Israel agenda, and yet these three (among many others) quake with fear when American citizens organize to refute it: If the charge that American Jews are able to stifle criticism of Israel is simply silly, the leveling of the charge that there is something nefarious about Jews urging support for the Jewish state raises questions about whether Messrs. Walt and Mearsheimer have descended into a certain ugliness. And the tactic of...

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

The Wolves At London's Door

The Times of London has done some digging into the lines of control for the city’s mosques and finds a disturbing development. Almost half of them have come under the leadership of the same radical sect that spawned the Taliban, and the new leader has called for the shedding of blood in a jihad against the West. Ironically, Britain has subsidized the indoctrination of these jihadists that produce 80% of their homegrown Islamic clerics. At Heading Right, I ask how bad the situation has to get when even Pakistanis complain about British Muslim extremism. Will Western nations surrender to the extremists by refusing to defend themselves, or will they act to curtail the influence and spread of deadly and seditious organizations? Britain appears to be the test case....

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

Osama Video Featuring Fake Beard?

ABC News reports that some intelligence analysts believe that the newly-trimmed and blackened beard featured in the upcoming Osama bin Laden video may be false. It could indicate that Osama has hotfooted it to a country where a beard would make him stand out from the crowd, which would require a phony for his videos: Intelligence sources tell ABC News they believe the expected video message from Osama bin Laden is authentic, recently produced and evidence the al Qaeda leader is still alive. U.S. authorities now say they have a transcript which they say is aimed at potential suicide bombers who he urges to carry out missions against the West. ... "It does look oddly like he is wearing a false beard," Richard Clarke, a former White House counterterrorism official and now ABC News consultant, said. "If we go back to the tape three years, he had a very white...

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

Petraeus Reports To The Troops

General David Petraeus sent a letter today to the men and women under his command in Iraq, updating them on the progress since the start of the surge. The letter can be read here, and it has every hallmark of an open, honest evaluation of the current situation in Iraq. For instance, while Petraeus praises the progress in western Iraq as "greater than any of us might have predicted six months ago," he acknowledged that Baghdad still needs more work: The achievements in some other areas -- for example, in some particularly challenging Baghdad neighborhoods and in reducing overall civilian casualties, especially those caused by periodic, barbaric Al Qaeda bombings -- have not been as dramatic. However, the overall trajectory has been encouraging, especially when compared to the situation at the height of the sectarian violence in late 2006 and early 2007. He also notes the lack of concrete progress...

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

Heading Right Radio: The Week In Review (UPDATE: Time Change!)

Today on Heading Right Radio (Note Time Change: 1 pm CT!!), Duane Patterson joins me for the week in review. We'll have lots to discuss, including the New Hampshire debate, Fred Thompson's official launch, the effort to discredit General David Petraeus before his testimony, and much, much more! Call 646-652-4889 to join the conversation! Did you know that you can listen to Heading Right Radio through your TiVo service? Click here for the instructions. Also, you can subscribe to Heading Right Radio through iTunes now by clicking this link:...

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

Osama Scolds Democrats For Not Surrendering

ABC News has the transcript of Osama bin Laden's newest video, and as Hot Air notes, it blasts Democrats for not following through on their promises of dhimmitude: “People of America: the world is following your news in regards to your invasion of Iraq, for people have recently come to know that, after several years of tragedies of this war, the vast majority of you want it stopped. Thus, you elected the Democratic Party for this purpose, but the Democrats haven’t made a move worth mentioning. On the contrary, they continue to agree to the spending of tens of billions to continue the killing and war there.” Osama has a couple of options for Americans to completely surrender to al-Qaeda and stop the terrorism against our people: “The first is from our side, and it is to continue to escalate the killing and fighting against you.” The second is to...

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

On The Road Again

The First Mate and I will head to Southern California for the next two weeks to catch up with family and make some business contacts. It's not a vacation, but more a move to my West Coast offices. I'll be working my normal jobs from the road, and still doing my normal Heading Right shows. That's one of the exciting features of working in the New Media -- I can be at the office anywhere that has high-speed Internet access. I may decide to take weekends mostly off during this time, but do check in as I'll probably want one or two threads each day just to keep the blog warm. I'll be sure to post some pictures of SoCal on the blog -- and maybe we'll arrange a get-together with local Captain's Quarters readers while we're here!...

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

September 8, 2007

Sunnis Return To Iraqi Assembly

With the focus on political progress heightening in advance of the testimony of General David Petraeus, the Iraqi National Assembly has come under pressure to start approving legislation from the agreement two weeks ago between the leaders of the various factions on reform. That effort got a boost today when the Sunnis ended the final political boycott of the Assembly: A small Sunni Arab bloc ended its parliamentary boycott Saturday, returning to the legislature as it considers key benchmark legislation demanded by Washington amid increasing pressure to end the political deadlock. The return of the Iraqi Front for National Dialogue ends the last boycott of parliament, which had contributed to the political paralysis. ... Major Shiite, Sunni Arab and Kurdish leaders said they had agreed in principle on some of the 18 issues that the U.S. has set as benchmarks. Among them were holding provincial elections, releasing prisoners held without...

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

Hsu On The Other Foot

Most of the focus for Norman Hsu's dubious fundraising has fallen on Hillary Clinton, who benefited enormously from Hsu's efforts. Less attention has been given to Hsu's connections to her main rival Barack Obama, but the Washington Post reports that Hsu did a little walking for the candidate who claims to want a different kind of politics. Hsu brought Obama one of his biggest fundraisers: Before becoming a major bundler for Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's presidential campaign, disgraced Democratic donor Norman Hsu helped host a 2005 California event for Barack Obama's political action committee and introduced the senator from Illinois to one of the biggest fundraisers for his presidential bid. Federal Election Commission records show that Hsu gave $5,000 to Obama's Hopefund PAC in connection with the fundraiser and that people publicly identified with Hsu and his companies gave an additional $19,500 to the PAC in 2005 and 2006. Mark...

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

Presenting A Bill For Terrorism

A US court entered a judgment against Iran for the terrorist attack in Lebanon that killed 241 Marines, awarding victims and their families over $2 billion in damages. The judge found the mullahcracy "legally responsible" for actions of Hezbollah, based on the Iranian financing for the terrorist organization: A federal judge yesterday ordered Iran to pay more than $2.6 billion to nearly 1,000 family members and a handful of survivors of a 1983 bombing of a Marine barracks in Lebanon that killed 241 soldiers. The ruling brought cheers and tears from survivors but faces long odds of being fulfilled. "This court is sadly aware that there is little it can do to heal the physical wounds and emotional scars," wrote U.S. District Judge Royce C. Lamberth in his order. But he expressed hope that "this extremely sizeable judgment will serve to aid in the healing process and simultaneously sound the...

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

British General: Coalition Can't Leave Iraq In The Lurch

Last week, the world press reacted with delight when British commander General Sir Mike Jackson ripped Donald Rumsfeld and the Bush administration for its post-invasion planning for Iraq. Today, Jackson continued his criticism of Rumsfeld, calling his planning "intellectually bankrupt", but underscored the need to stay in Iraq and insisted that critics have prematurely declared the mission a failure: The general who led the British army from the 2003 Iraq invasion until last year said that it was "too soon" to declare Iraq a failure and that Britain and the United States have a "moral commitment" not to withdraw troops prematurely. "I just think it would be wrong to pack up before the conditions are right, and without the agreement of the Iraqi government," retired Gen. Mike Jackson said in an interview Friday. But he stressed that significant troop withdrawals from Iraq should come only when Iraq can handle its...

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

Deadline For Terrorism: September 15th

The terrorists arrested in Germany had a deadline for their attack on Ramstein Air Base and the Frankfurt airport, given to them by their al-Qaeda masters: September 15th. Why that date, rather than the more obvious 9/11 anniversary? AQ has more current politics in mind: Three suspected Islamist militants who were planning to attack U.S. installations in Germany had orders to act by Sept. 15 and knew police were hot on their trail before their arrest, a magazine said on Saturday. The plan was foiled on Tuesday when police arrested two German converts to Islam and a Turk in the biggest German police operation in 30 years. According to surveillance details published in Der Spiegel magazine, the men had been given a two-week deadline for their planned strikes in a late August call from northern Pakistan that was monitored by German police. Congress set a deadline on September 15th as...

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

September 9, 2007

A Challenge For A Real Debate

Fred Thompson has noted, as I have recently, the ineffectiveness of presidential debates in their current format. On the day of his official launch into the presidential race, Thompson told Sean Hannity that the format did little to enlighten American voters on the issues or where the candidates really stand on policy: It is not designed really to illuminate people's thoughts and feelings. Thirty-, 40-second sound bites, you know, to questions that hopefully will elicit some kind of a comment about one of the other participants, something like that, to make a little story, that sort of thing. I kind of think that Newt's idea of going back to the Lincoln-Douglas debate-type format, where you have two people sit down or stand up and, you know, take an hour or so, and maybe an hour-and-a-half and discuss maybe one particular category, one particular topic, and get in-depth and go back...

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

Fashion Companies Nothing But Spats For Hsu

The New York Times has its reporters wearing out some old-fashioned shoe leather in attempting to trace down the source of Norman Hsu's prodigious amounts of money, used to float $1.6 million in personal and bundled contributions to Democratic candidates and organizations. The result? The Times discovered that the companies Hsu listed appear to have only one produce -- salaries for Democratic contributors: At the center of the ever-deepening mystery of Norman Hsu, the fugitive fund-raiser who was captured after a brief flight from the law last week, is the question of how he evolved from a bankrupt swindler in 1992 to a wealthy donor to many Democratic candidates, and a bundler of campaign contributions to Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton in 2007. A review of financial records for one of Mr. Hsu’s companies begins to shed light on some of his recent activities, including his dealings with a circle of...

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

The History of The Surge, The Insider's Edition

The Washington Post tells the story of the surge from inside the Bush administration in a lengthy and intriguing article. Headlined as "Among Top Officials, 'Surge' Has Sparked Dissent, Infighting," the compendium from the Post's reporters actually tells quite a different story. While the surge initially produced dissent -- even within the military command -- the results have united the administration and the military more than at any time over the last eight months. In the beginning, Republicans outside the administration objected to the new initiative and the Pentagon's new chief, Robert Gates, wanted to start drawing down troops. Having just lost an election with Iraq as a significantly contributing factor, the GOP wanted to see an exit strategy by 2008. George Bush wanted to take one final shot for victory, and he pressed for the surge to give the Iraqis enough time to start creating the political environment where...

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

The Gore Endorsement - The Non-Story

Will Al Gore's endorsement bring a boost to whomever he blesses, or will it represent the kiss of death to its victim? The Washington Post analyzes its potential and comes up with little more than a shrug: Former vice president Al Gore's pronouncement that he is likely to endorse one of the Democratic candidates for president before the primary season is over has set off a slew of speculation about who his choice might be. Truth is, the courting of the "Goreacle" began many months ago. Sen. Barack Obama (Ill.) and Gore huddled in Nashville in December, and Gore has also met with former senator John Edwards (N.C.). Gore and Sen. Christopher J. Dodd (Conn.) conferred as recently as last week. ... It seems safe to predict that Gore will not be endorsing the bid of the senator from New York. A more open question might be whether he would...

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

Fred's Answers Coming Soon

Captain's Quarters readers participated in a new kind of interactive campaign rolled out by the Fred Thompson campaign on their launch date. The Thompson team asked our community to give them a handful of substantive questions, and the Senator would answer us directly in taped video responses. We had scores of questions from which to choose, and we sent six to the campaign as respresentative of the whole. I've been told that the campaign will start to release Thompson's answers later today or tomorrow. Stay tuned, as we will have the video available here when it's ready!...

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

September 10, 2007

Something Wicked This Way Comes

Yesterday, while spending my time on the West Coast, my sister treated the First Mate and me to Hollywood afternoon -- tickets to the theatre and dinner at a unique LA restaurant. It has been years since we've been to a play that didn't feature a family member or friend as part of the cast; I think the last play was Blood Brothers with David Cassidy at the Orange County Performing Arts Center. This time, we went to a more storied venue, the Pantages on Hollywood Boulevard. For those who have not experienced it, the Pantages is one of the grand venues of the Los Angeles stage. Its breathtaking internal design and decor make it a destination stop all by itself. In fact, as we entered it, we saw tour buses stopped outside its entrance. This time, however, the play most definitely surpassed the surroundings. Wicked comes from the novel...

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

The Ethics Bill That Hides Dishonesty

What should President Bush do with an ethics reform that leaves the American people in a worse position to discover and fight pork-barrel spending? Robert Novak notes the dilemma in which Bush finds himself as Congress reconvenes. Can he afford to veto their vaunted new ethics bill -- and can he affort not to veto it? The final version of the widely celebrated ethics bill, approved by overwhelming margins in both the House and Senate a month ago, finally and quietly made its way last week from Capitol Hill to the White House. It surely will soon be signed into law by President Bush. What only a handful of leaders and insiders realize is that this measure, avowedly dedicated to transparency, actually makes it easier for the Senate to pass pet projects without the public -- or many senators -- being aware of it. Until now, one or two senators...

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

Joining The Winners

Fouad Ajami writes eloquently in today's Wall Stret Journal about the status of sectarian relationships and prospects for unity in post-surge Iraq. Ajami asks interesting questions about the Sunni-Shi'ite split in context of American action in Iraq, but one point comes through clearly -- the Iraqis will work with winners, and they know that means the Americans: Abu Reisha and a small group of like-minded men, he said, came together to challenge al Qaeda. "We fought with our own weapons. I myself fought al Qaeda with my own funds. The Americans were slow to understand our sahwa, our awakening. But they have come around of late. The Americans are innocent; they don't know Iraq. But all this is in the past, and now the Americans have a wise and able military commander on the scene, and the people of the Anbar have found their way. In the Anbar, they now...

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

Not Exactly The Red Carpet For Sharif

Pakistan's exiled former prime minister, Nawaz Sharif, returned in triumph today. Triumph turned to a ticket to Saudi Arabia in less than eight hours, however, as Pervez Musharraf had Sharif deported shortly after his arrival: Former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif returned to Pakistan from a seven-year exile, hoping to campaign against the country's U.S.-allied military ruler, but was immediately charged with corruption and deported to Saudi Arabia hours later. On his arrival from London, black-uniformed commandos surrounded Sharif inside his plane; he was taken into custody and charged, then then spirited to another plane and sent to Jiddah, where he was whisked away in a convoy from the airport, witnesses said. In Islamabad, the government defended its decision to deport Sharif in defiance of a Supreme Court order saying he had the right to return to Pakistan, claiming it was in the "supreme interest" of the country. Sharif's deportation came...

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

Kanye West: MTV Hates Black People, Too

Two years ago, rapper Kanye West made headlines by accusing George Bush of hating black people in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. The hate continues, as West threw a tantrum over not winning an MTV award for any of his five nominations last night: Rapper Kanye West threw a tantrum in front of media after missing out on the five awards he was nominated for. "That's two years in a row, man... give a black man a chance," West said. "I'm trying hard, man, I have the... number one record, man." West, who gatecrashed the stage at the MTV Europe Awards after failing to win the prize for best video, said he would never return to MTV. This was just the capper on a night that MTV will want to forget. Their evening featured a fight between Pamela Anderson husbands Kid Rock and Tommy Lee, the latter of whom got...

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

Second Bin Laden Tape?

ABC News reports that Osama bin Laden has a second tape released last week, recorded at the same place as the first. The new tape references 9/11 more explicitly than the last: A second tape from Osama bin Laden was recorded in the same location as the video released last week. People in the intelligence community who have seen the tape feel it is directly related to the 9/11 anniversary since the al Qaeda leader introduces the prerecorded martyr video of one of the 9/11 hijackers, Waleed al Shehri. Waleed al Shehri was one of the hijackers on American Airlines flight 11 that crashed into the North Tower of the World Trade Center. What would that mean? Did Osama look over his notes after the first tape and say, "Damn, I forgot to read pages six and seven!" Was Osama having a senior moment? Perhaps, though, this tape may provide...

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

Who Exactly Is Betraying Us?

Using a schoolyard manipulation of General David Petraeus’ last name, MoveOn asked in a full-page advertisement whether this honorable commander would betray his nation for the sake of a temporary political advantage. Calling the MNF-I commander “Betray-Us”, the Democratic activist organization accused the general of deliberately misreporting the results of the war effort to boost the Bush administration. At Heading Right, I question who's betraying whom. I question MoveOn's patriotism. I suggest that MoveOn and the Democrats who support the organization would gladly commit character assassination of the lowest order against a man who has served this nation for decades in such an honorable fashion that the Senate voted unanimously to give him command of our forces in Iraq just eight months ago. Michelle Malkin calls it "despicable". I'd say that's putting it mildly. Later today, we'll hear from a man who served with Petraeus. Keep checking back for that...

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

Canada Gives Muslims A Pass On Visual Identification For Elections

More accurately, Elections Canada -- the agency that oversees elections in our neighbor to the north -- has granted an exception for Muslim women to show their faces at polling stations for identification. The action by the agency defies the nation's Parliament, which specifically required facial identification for voters: Prime Minister Stephen Harper blasted Elections Canada Sunday for going against a parliamentary ruling by allowing Muslim women to wear veils and burkas while voting. The move goes directly against a unanimous vote in the House of Commons this past spring to make visual identification mandatory when casting a ballot. "I profoundly disagree with the decision," Harper told reporters in Sydney, Australia where he is attending the APEC conference. "We just adopted this past sitting, in the spring, Bill C-31, a law designed to have the visual identification of voters. That's the purpose of the law. "That was the law voted...

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

Col. Joe Repya: The Assault on General David Petraeus

I'm fortunate to count Colonel Joe Repya among my friends in Minnesota. The retired soldier, a veteran of Vietnam, Desert Storm, and Operation Iraqi Freedom joined me as a co-host two weeks ago for my radio show at the State Fair and spoke at that time of the coming smears on General David Petraeus. After today's MoveOn advertisement, Col. Repya asked if he could respond here at Captain's Quarters. Today, Monday, September 10, 2007, US Army General David Petraeus, Commander of Multi National Forces – Iraq will be publicly persecuted by some members of the US Senate. Not all will join in the attacks, only those Senators more politically vicious and partisan will participate. They will be the same Senators who only months ago voted unanimously to appoint General Petraeus to run the Iraq war. Remember this is the war that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nevada) recently told American...

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

Heading Right Radio: Rick Moran & Osama Bin Laden

Today on Heading Right Radio (Note Special Time: 1 pm CT), Rick Moran joins us to talk about the implications of the Osama bin Laden tapes, as well as the Petraeus testimony and much, much more Call 646-652-4889 to join the conversation! Did you know that you can listen to Heading Right Radio through your TiVo service? Click here for the instructions. Also, you can subscribe to Heading Right Radio through iTunes now by clicking this link:...

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

Welcome To Petraeus Theater

General David Petraeus has finally started his long-awaited testimony, but some people just can't abide hearing his report. Several protestors had to be ejected from the chamber, and one familiar face was among them: Anti-war activist Cindy Sheehan was arrested Monday in or near the hearing room where Gen. David Petraeus and U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker are testifying on the situation in Iraq, according to the U.S. Capitol Police. Four anti-war protesters were arrested for disorderly conduct. One of them, who was not named, is being taken to George Washington Hospital “due to complaint of injury” and is also charged with assault on a police officer. According to the information from the Capitol Police, Sheehan and the other three were shouting in a hallway. The constant protests clearly irritated committee chair Ike Skelton, who called them "a**holes", according to Allahpundit's video at Hot Air. St. Cindy didn't make...

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

Olbermann: Fox News Is More Dangerous Than AQ, Klan

Quick -- someone take a look at Rupert Murdoch. Does he have a bomb vest strapped under a white sheet and hood? No? Someone should tell Keith Olbermann's psychiatrist so he can up the meds a bit for the NBC "news" anchor: Al Qaeda really hurt us, but not as much as Rupert Murdoch has hurt us, particularly in the case of Fox News. Fox News is worse than Al Qaeda — worse for our society. It’s as dangerous as the Ku Klux Klan ever was. At the risk of enabling such anti-intellectual twaddle, let's be clear about what Olbermann says here. Al-Qaeda killed thousands of Americans on 9/11 and has killed hundreds, if not thousands, worldwide in terrorist attacks. It seeks to impose a radical Islamist Caliphate on the entire world. The Klan oppressed millions of blacks in the US, infiltrating local and state governments in order to ensure...

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

Did Romney Team Set Up Phony Fred Site? (Update: Team Romney Responds)

People have wondered which candidates would fear a Fred Thompson candidacy the most. Tonight we may have an answer. The appearance of a snarky anti-Thompson website got journalists interested in its origin -- and that led to a surprise: An opposition research-laden website called "phoneyfred.org" has surfaced that hammers the GOP's newest presidential candidate for his policy positions, lobbying work, previous dating life and ties to John McCain. There is no disclaimer on the site and the anonymous e-mailer who sent along the link declined to identify himself/herself. The domain was secured last month from a Utah-based web-hosting provider, Bluehost.com. Reached by phone, an employee of the company declined to identify who had purchased the site. Clearly, though, this is no amateur effort. The volume of information and the way that it's sourced reeks of a grasstops hit-job. Repeatingly calling Thompson "Phoney Fred" in the on-message style of political operatives,...

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

September 11, 2007

Hillary Hears A Hsu

After days of tortured explanations of why her campaign would hold onto bundled donations from Norman Hsu even after donating his direct contributions to charity, Hillary Clinton finally announced that her campaign would return Hsu's funneled money to their donors. Her campaign also announced how much money that would involve, and it turned out to be many times more than first thought: Hillary Rodham Clinton’s presidential campaign announced tonight that it would return approximately $850,000 to about 260 donors who had been recruited or tapped by Norman Hsu, the disgraced Clinton campaign fundraiser who recently fled arrest and is now under investigation for his fundraising practices. The Clinton campaign also disclosed tonight that it had decided to begin running criminal background checks on its bundlers — the dozens of individuals who raise hundreds of thousands of dollars from donors on behalf of a candidate, as Mr. Hsu had done for...

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

California Jihadi Gets 24 Years

The first of the California jihadis to get convicted on terrorism charges received a 24-year sentence yesterday. Hamid Hayat traveled to Pakistan to learn terrorism in al-Qaeda training camps in order to kill Americans, and it turned into a family business: A California man convicted last year of aiding terrorists and lying to the F.B.I. was sentenced on Monday to 24 years in prison. The man, Hamid Hayat, an American citizen of Pakistani descent, was solemn and attentive in court on what was his 25th birthday. He showed little reaction as an assistant translated the proceedings and stern words of Judge Garland E. Burrell Jr. of Federal District Court into Urdu. “Hamid Hayat attended a terrorist training camp,” Judge Burrell said, “and returned to the United States, ready and willing to wage violent jihad when directed to do so, regardless of the havoc such acts could wreak on persons and...

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

Strike Three?

A bomb-sniffing dog in Ankara helped Turkish authorities stop a massive terrorist attack on the anniversary of 9/11. A van full of explosives in a parking garage would have devastated the center of the large city, and it would have served as a counterpoint to the messages released by Osama bin Laden in the past week: Police in Turkey's capital, Ankara, have prevented a large bomb from exploding, the city's governor said. Sniffer dogs detected a van stuffed with explosives in the centre of the city, preventing a "possible catastrophe", Governor Kemal Onal said. ... Ankara's governor said a large quantity of explosives had been left in the van which had a false licence plate. It was parked in a multi-storey garage in Kurtulus, a densely populated area of central Ankara. This would make three terrorist attacks thwarted in the past week. Earlier, German and Danish authorities rolled up Islamist...

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

Curious George

George Will should get a lot of mileage from today's column, in which he declares the surge a failure. That declaration will no doubt attract opponents of the war and get cited by them, handily appearing as it does in conjunction with the testimony of General David Petraeus. Normally rather thoughtful, Will bases this conclusion on two very weak arguments, both of which are so easily rebutted that it makes one wonder why the normally excellent Will didn't think it through better. First, he argues that Bushs' appearance in Anbar proves the surge didn't work: Before Gen. David Petraeus's report, and to give it a context of optimism, the president visited Iraq's Anbar province to underscore the success of the surge in making some hitherto anarchic areas less so. More significant, however, was that the president did not visit Baghdad. This underscored the fact that the surge has failed, as...

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

McConnell v. New York Times

Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell told the Senate that the NSA caught the terror cell poised to strike at Ramstein Air Base in Germany because of the NSA’s expanded powers. The New York Times reports that the detection predates the new FISA legislation, and therefore McConnell was mistaken, but the Times forgets the purpose of the legislation in that analysis. At Heading Right, I supply the missing context that eludes Eric Schmitt in his reporting. It shows the new FISA legislation as a requirement for effective counterterrorism activity, and in fact proves that Congress absolutely needed to reinstate the NSA's authority to capture the kind of communication in real time that led to the discovery of the terrorist targeting Ramstein's air base -- and our men and women in the armed forces....

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

Bad News For The Truthers

One of the more enduring myths of the 9/11 truther movement involves the rapid collapse of the Twin Towers after being hit by the commercial jets six years ago today. The conspiracy theorists insist that a self-initiated collapse could not have occurred, and even if it did, it could not have progressed so rapidly. Their theory has government agents spending two weeks in the building, planting explosives without disturbing the offices in the building, and waiting for that special day when a couple of planes hitting the towers would give them an excuse to demolish them. Instead, their theories on the impossibility of collapse just got demolished at Cambridge: The study by a Cambridge University engineer demonstrates that once the collapse of the twin towers began, it was destined to be rapid and total. ... Dr Seffen was able to calculate the "residual capacity" of the undamaged building: that is,...

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

Remembering 9/11

Where were you six years ago? That morning, I went to work early, as I usually did, to eat breakfast at the office and take my time preparing for my day in the call center. That doesn't usually involve television, and any websurfing I did took place before 7 am CT. By the time the first plane took off from Logan Airport, the normal routine of measurement review and staff meetings had already started for me. The first time I heard that anything was wrong on that day was a phone call from the First Mate. She told me about the first plane crash, and at first I assumed it had been caused by poor visibility in New York. A co-worker then told me about news of a second crash, and I knew that we had been hit by a terrorist attack. As I wrote three years ago: Work came...

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

Heading Right Radio: Rep. Tim Walberg, Joe Repya, 9/11

Today on Heading Right Radio (Note special time: 11 am CT), we welcome Rep, Tim Walberg (R-MI) to discuss his opposition to the No Child Left Behind program and its proposed extension. At the bottom of the hour, we'll be joined by a man I'm proud to call my friend, Lt. Colonel Joe Repya, who will discuss the testimony of General David Petraeus yesterday and today on Capitol Hill. Don't miss this show! Call 646-652-4889 to join the conversation! Did you know that you can listen to Heading Right Radio through your TiVo service? Click here for the instructions. Also, you can subscribe to Heading Right Radio through iTunes now by clicking this link: Also, I want to remind people that it's not too late for Captain's Quarters readers to sign the petition urging Congress to allow the surge to continue....

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

Rep. Walberg: MoveOn Opposes America

If you missed today's installment of Heading Right Radio, you missed a barn-burner. We had two terrific guests on the show: Lt. Col. Joe Repya of the 101st Airborne (ret.) and Rep. Tim Walberg (R-MI). Although our discussion mainly centered on No Child Left Behind, I asked Rep. Walberg about the testimony of General David Petraeus and the attack on his integrity and sense of duty in the MoveOn advertisement in yesterday's New York Times. In his clear and measured style, Walberg held little in reserve in expressing his contempt for MoveOn (emphases mine): EM: Yesterday, Senator John Ensign, who runs the National Republican Senatorial campaign, called on Democrats to return monies donated to them by MoveOn -- MoveOn.org. Would you agree with that after the advertisement that they placed in the New York Times yesterday? TW: Well, only if they don't agree with them. I'm fearful there are many...

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

Guest Post: Senator James Inhofe

Captain's Quarters welcomes back Senator James Inhofe for a guest post regarding the testimony of General Petraeus. Thank you, Ed, for the opportunity to once again address your readers. This site is a valuable resource for Americans who want to support our troops and get the truth about our progress in Iraq. Just recently, we entered our fifth year of engagement in Iraq. I think it is safe to say it has stretched on longer than many of us anticipated at its onset. However, we have seen significant signs of progress as a result of General Petraeus’s troop surge strategy. Iraqi cities which used to be terrorist strongholds such as Ramadi and Fallujah are now not only secure, but kept secure by Iraqi security forces. Iraqi citizens are participating in "Neighborhood Watch" programs and circle undetonated roadside bombs with orange spray paint to warn passersby. And our troops are developing...

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

Dennis Kucinich Votes Against 9/11 Remembrance

Congress voted on a nonpartisan bill to act as a tribute to the victims of 9/11, including the men and women who died at the Pentagon six years ago. Supporting such a resolution would seem rather uncontroversial. However, to the man cultivating a reputation as the House's resident eccentric, nothing is too uncontroversial to make into a moment for him to call attention to himself: Rep. Dennis Kucinich, Democratic presidential candidate and no stranger to contrarian views, was the sole congressman Tuesday to vote against the House's Sept. 11 commemoration resolution. Tuesday's nonbinding resolution was a relatively short document. It had 12 "whereas" clauses — stating things like what happened the day of the terrorist attacks, who was affected and how terrorists have been targeted since then — and six resolution paragraphs establishing Sept. 11 as a day of remembrance, extending sympathies to families of victims who died and honoring...

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

Was Thompson In Unforgiven?

If not, he's doing a pretty good impression of it on the campaign trail today. After Mitt Romney attempted to distance himself from the Phoney Fred website, Thompson blasted Romney in no uncertain terms. Romney's team says 9/11 should be a day free from political consequences: The statement from Todd Harris, communications director for Fred Thompson, accuses Mitt Romney's campaign of a "half-baked cover-up" of what he alleges is the association between a Romney consultant and a hastily pulled website that said nasty things about Thompson. Harris concluded with the kind of rhetoric that tends to warm Democratic hearts: "This latest episode only serves to prove what many voters are already figuring out: Mitt Romney will do anything, say anything, smear any opponent and flip flop on any position in order to win. The American people in general and the Republican Party in particular deserve better than this." Romney spokesman...

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

September 12, 2007

Hsu Ran With The Money

The Wall Street Journal has tracked down the source of Norman Hsu's cash, and the good news is that the People's Republic of China didn't provide the funds -- at least, not some of them. However, the bad news is that Hsu apparently moved from Ponzi schemes to outright embezzlement as a former Woodstock backer proved as inept at background checks as the Democratic Party: New documents reviewed by The Wall Street Journal may help point to an answer: A company controlled by Mr. Hsu recently received $40 million from a Madison Avenue investment fund run by Joel Rosenman, who was one of the creators of the Woodstock rock festival in 1969. That money, Mr. Rosenman told investors this week, is missing. Mr. Hsu told Mr. Rosenman the money would be used to manufacture apparel in China for Gucci, Prada and other private labels, yielding a 40% profit on each...

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

Abe Resigns

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe unexpectedly resigned today, apparently tired of political battles over diplomacy and economics. The move stunned the political establishment in Tokyo, which had prepared for an Abe defense of a counterterrorism policy that had encountered some resistance: Embattled Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said on Wednesday he would resign in hope of making it easier to extend a naval mission in support of U.S.-led operations in Afghanistan, sending shockwaves through Japan. The hawkish Abe, who took office a year ago promising to boost Japan's global security profile, has suffered low support rates and dwindling clout after his ruling camp suffered an election drubbing in July, but the announcement came as a bolt out of the blue. "I determined today that I should resign," a weary-looking Abe told a news conference. "We should seek a continued mission to fight terrorism under a new prime minister." This comes...

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

Putin Sacks Government, Nominates Unknown

Vladimir Putin dismissed the Russian Prime Minister and his government almost three months ahead of scheduled elections. He had been widely expected to do so, but he crossed up the analysts and nominated an unknown as a replacement: Russian President Vladimir Putin has accepted the resignation of PM Mikhail Fradkov and nominated a financial crime investigator to replace him. Victor Zubkov, head of the federal financial monitoring service, is a relative unknown in Russian politics. ... First Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov has long been considered a frontrunner for the presidency, and Russian media had been speculating that he could be made premier. Russian markets didn't budge at the announcement of Fradkov's resignation, but they may hiccup a little at Zubkov's nomination. Ivanov had widely been seen as Putin's favorite, having accompanied him at many public events. Vedemosti, the Russian business publication, had already been discussing Ivanov's ascension as a...

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

Blue On Blue, No Heartache For GOP

Congressional politicians usually make a point of supporting colleagues within their own caucus when it comes time for re-election campaigns, for several reasons. One reason is just pure karma — no one wants to see their own re-election endangered by an intramural attack. More importantly, majorities tend to be fragile, and a loss of majority means a loss of committee assignments and power. However, that hasn’t stopped some Democrats from suggesting that a few less Democrats in Congress may be just what’s needed. The purity campaign gets a boost from at least one Democratic Representative, and finally we have some basis for bipartisan agreement. However, unlike in the Senate where the numbers overwhelmingly favor the Democrats, the GOP could grab back the lower chamber if the activists get too successful in their campaign to rid the Democratic Party of its moderates and conservatives. At Heading Right, I take a look...

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

What Did Israel Bomb In Syria? (Update: A Second Osirak?)

The US has confirmed that Israel did overfly Syria and dropped munitions as Syria had accused. The US remained coy about the nature of the strike and its intended target, but the area in which the strike occurred indicates a push back against weapons transfers to Hezbollah: A US official has confirmed that Israeli warplanes carried out an air strike "deep inside" Syria, escalating tensions between the two countries. The target of the strike last Thursday remained unclear but Israeli media reported that a shipment of Iranian arms crossing Syria for use by the Iranian-backed Hezbollah militia in Lebanon was attacked. ... Another theory gaining ground yesterday was that Israel was deliberately attacking the Russian-made Pantsyr air defence system recently bought by Damascus. The sale includes provision for the Pantsyr system to be shipped on to Iran and it is possible the Israeli attack was co-ordinated with America to probe...

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

Olson To Justice?

Since Alberto Gonzales will clear out his office in four days, the search for a replacement Attorney General qualifies as a high priority. The Bush administration has floated a few names, but reportedly leans toward former Solicitor General Ted Olson -- and already it has generated some heat from Democrats in the Senate: The White House is closing in on a nominee to replace Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales, with former Solicitor General Theodore B. Olson considered one of the leading candidates, administration and Congressional officials said Tuesday. Reports of Mr. Olson’s candidacy suggested that President Bush, in choosing the third attorney general of his presidency, might defy calls from Democrats and choose another Republican who is considered a staunch partisan to lead the Justice Department. Mr. Gonzales is departing after being repeatedly accused of allowing political loyalties to blind him to independently enforcing the law. “Clearly if you made...

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

IBD: Americans Not In A 9/10 State Of Mind

Last week, CIA director Michael Hayden warned Americans against complacency in the war on terror, as six years have passed without an attack on the US homeland. Hayden worried that Americans may already have regressed to a 9/10 state of mind. Investor's Business Daily conducted a poll to determine whether Hayden has cause for concern, and found out that we remain resolute in our fight against terrorists: • 70% of Americans believe we should not quickly pull out of Iraq o Includes 73% of Democrats (more than the 71% of Republicans) • 69% believe we should increase surveillance of terrorists o 61% believe we should wiretap suspected terrorists without a court warrant • 63% believe we should not release prisoners from Guantanamo Bay IBD conducted the poll between September 4th and 7th, as the nation prepared for the testimony of General David Petraeus and as the Democrats launched their attack...

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

Heading Right Radio: Eric Egland, Terry Jones Of IBD

Today on Heading Right Radio (Note special time: 1 pm CT), Eric Egland joins us to talk about his primary challenge to John Doolittle here in California. Eric served as a military intel officer in Afghanistan and Iraq, and later wrote a book advocating support of the war. I met Eric at CPAC and we'll talk about lots of issues, including the continuing war and how his experience can be put to use in Congress. In the second half of the show, Terry Jones of Investor's Business Daily joins us to discuss their latest poll, which shows that Americans remain determined to beat terrorists and achieve victory on our terms in Iraq. Call 646-652-4889 to join the conversation! Did you know that you can listen to Heading Right Radio through your TiVo service? Click here for the instructions. Also, you can subscribe to Heading Right Radio through iTunes now...

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

Why Didn't Clinton Team Heed Hsu Warnings?

The Hillary Clinton campaign and the Democratic Party received warnings that Hsu had a bad record with money as early as June of this year, several sources report, but did nothing to distance themselves from the Hillraiser. Jack Cassidy, a California businessman who recognized Hsu as a shady character, sent messages imploring Democrats to avoid Hsu, to no avail: Hillary Clinton's campaign couldn't explain yesterday why it blew off warnings about felon-turned-fund-raiser Norman Hsu - and the Daily News learned FBI agents are collecting e-mail evidence in the widening scandal. Clinton was forced Monday to give back a whopping $850,000 raised by convicted scam artist Hsu after learning his investment ventures were being probed by the FBI as a potential Ponzi scheme. ... Yesterday, the campaign insisted it did all it should to vet Hsu after California businessman Jack Cassidy warned in June that Hsu's investment operation was fishy. Cassidy...

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

They Saw The Mission Through

Three weeks ago, seven soldiers serving in Iraq wrote an op-ed piece for the New York Times outlining their opposition to the war and the new strategy employed by the Bush administration in 2007. Today, Editor & Publisher notes that two of the authors, Sgt. Omar Mora and Sgt. Yance T. Gray, died in an accident in Iraq on Monday: The Op-Ed by seven active duty U.S. soldiers in Iraq questioning the war drew international attention just three weeks ago. Now two of the seven are dead. Sgt. Omar Mora and Sgt. Yance T. Gray died Monday in a vehicle accident in western Baghdad, two of seven U.S. troops killed in the incident which was reported just as Gen. David Petraeus was about to report to Congress on progress in the "surge." The names have just been released. ... The accident in Iraq occurred when a cargo truck the men...

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

US Has Iranian Missile Debris After Attack

The US military in Iraq has evidence from a rocket attack that they claim prove Iranian involvement in Iraq. The briefing, scheduled for tomorrow, will display the Iranian markings from a missile that killed one civilian and wounded eleven troops: U.S. military officials in Iraq tell ABC News that a rocket used in an attack on coalition headquarters at Camp Victory Tuesday was made in Iran. Officials say the rocket, which narrowly missed its target, was fired from an area of Baghdad controlled by Shia militia leader Moqtada al Sadr. Officials say it landed so close that it shook the windows of the al Faw Palace, which houses the operational headquarters of U.S. forces in Iraq. The top two American military officials in Iraq -- Gen. David Petraeus and Lt. Gen. Ray Odierno -- both have offices in the building. A video teleconference of senior officers was abruptly halted as...

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

Hsustock!

Looking for the perfect scandal name for the Norman Hsu scandal? The connection noted in today's Wall Street Journal gives a perfect opportunity to create an enduring label for the rapidly-expanding scandal behind one of the Democratic Party's biggest fundraisers. The apparent con of Joel Rosenman, the man behind the Woodstock concerts in 1969 and 1994, makes this ... Hsustock! Speaking of music, Hillary Clinton remains tone-deaf about the damage that Hsu's money has created for her and her Democratic allies. After finally announcing that her campaign would return Hsu's bundled donations, Hillary suggested that the recipients return the refunds: Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, whose campaign is returning $850,000 in contributions linked to disgraced fundraiser Norman Hsu, indicated Wednesday that donors who contributed that money could donate to her presidential campaign once again. "We're not asking that that be done," she said in a teleconference with reporters. "But I believe...

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

Which Conservatives Wanted Erwin Chemerinsky Fired?

UC Irvine has touched off a firestorm, thanks to a particularly gutless move by Chancellor Michael Drake in rescinding a job offer for its brand-new law school. Well known liberal law academic Erwin Chemerinsky had accepted UCI's offer and contract to become the first dean -- but Drake told Chemerinsky that "conservatives" had hounded him into breaking the contract: Just days after he signed a contract to become the first dean of UC Irvine's new law school, Erwin Chemerinsky was told this week that the deal was off because he was too "politically controversial." Chemerinsky said in an interview today that UC Irvine Chancellor Michael V. Drake had flown to North Carolina on Tuesday and told him at a hotel near the airport that that he did not realize the extent to which there were "conservatives out to get me." Chemerinsky, one of the nation's best known constitutional scholars and...

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

September 13, 2007

Admitted AQ Leader Goes To Gitmo

Like Mark Twain, the demise of the detention center at Guantanamo Bay may have been somewhat exaggerated. The US has transferred nineteen captured terrorists to Gitmo this year, including the latest from Afghanistan. Only identified as "Inayatullah", he admitted to running an al-Qaeda organization in Iran: An Afghan national accused of links with al-Qaeda has been transferred to the US detention centre at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba, the Pentagon has said. The man, named only as "Inayatullah", was captured during operations in Afghanistan, a Pentagon statement said. The US military say he admitted being the leader of al-Qaeda in Zahedan, Iran and planned and directed al-Qaeda terrorist operations. ... "Inayatullah met with local operatives, developed travel routes and coordinated documentation, accommodation and vehicles for smuggling unlawful combatants throughout countries including Afghanistan, Iran, Pakistan and Iraq," the Pentagon said. Guantanamo Bay serves a useful purpose, whether people want to acknowledge it...

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

Hsustock: Suicide Note At Disappearance

Norman Hsu sent a suicide note to a distribution list of friends and associates before he jumped bail last week. The Wall Street Journal reports this morning that the missives, which arrived via FedEx last Thursday, explicitly warned that he would kill himself over the exposure of his past business practices: Before Democratic fund-raiser Norman Hsu skipped a court hearing and temporarily vanished last week, he typed out a suicide note and sent copies to several acquaintances and charitable organizations, according to people who received it. The one-page note, signed by Mr. Hsu, "very explicitly said he intended to commit suicide," said one of the recipients in an account corroborated by others, including law-enforcement officials. Mr. Hsu also apologized for putting anybody "through inconvenience or trouble," the recipient said. The letter, which began, "To whom it may concern," arrived by FedEx at the addresses of several recipients last Thursday, the...

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

German Government: Truthers?

The German public television channel ZDF recently ran a documentary on 9/11. According to Henryk Broder in Der Spiegel, the program took an unusual approach, but unfortunately one that seems all too familiar now to Americans, and Broder wonders whether people have become too stupid to comprehend objective reality: Everything, as it happens, is relative. Three hairs in a bowl of soup are three hairs too many, while three hairs on someone's head are relatively few. Even the oldest jokes about this theory of relativity, the ones that wouldn't even get a laugh out of drunken fools, suddenly become precious pearls of humor to those who saw Tuesday's ZDF documentary titled "Sept. 11, 2001 -- What Really Happened." Some might say the documentary was relatively harmless compared with the wildest conspiracy theories that have been circulating since the attacks, such as the one claiming that 4,000 Jewish New Yorkers who...

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

When Veggies Attack

Guns don't kill people -- plantains do. At least they drive grocery-store workers to murderous rage, according to the Orange County Register. One worker stabbed another at the end of a fistfight over how to stack vegetables: Among the piles of plantains and cucumbers at La Carreta Supermarket on Chapman Avenue, the two men stacking produce began bickering about the right way and the wrong way to do their job, police said. The argument became physical and the two men took it outside, throwing punches in the store's parking lot, said Orange police Sgt. Dan Adams. That's when it got ugly. Abraham Marquez, 24, pulled out a steak knife, stabbed his co-worker in the arm, Adams said. Someone driving down the street saw the brawl and called police. Even with shoppers and workers in the store, it was the only call police received about the fight. Marquez ran, leaving his...

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

Hsus And Socks

You can tell the man who boozes, by the company he chooses ... and the pig got up and slowly walked away. The poem by Clarke Van Ness warns people that they will be judged by the actions of those with whom they choose to associate -- and even a pig has enough sense to walk away from disaster. Hillary Clinton has a big problem with her associates, and it's self-inflicted. Lost in the Norman Hsu shuffle, the news that Hillary has asked former Clinton national-security adviser Sandy Berger to join her campaign should cause even more questions about her judgment and her ethics: The more experienced Hillary Clinton, meanwhile, has relied largely on her husband and a triumvirate of senior officials from his presidency—former secretary of state Madeleine Albright, former U.N. ambassador Richard Holbrooke and former national-security adviser Sandy Berger (who tries to keep a low profile after pleading...

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

Discounting The New York Times' Objectivity

The advertisement accusing General David Petraeus of betraying America got bought on the cheap, the New York Post reports. In a gleeful broadside to their rival newspaper, the Post checked on ad rates and discovered that MoveOn received a 60% reduction from the regular price for a full-page black and white ad. At Heading Right, I argue that the New York Times became a participant in character assassination, and have removed the last feeble fantasies about the objectivity of their publication. The Sulzbergers have to act to rescue the once-significant publication from the train wreck of Pinch's management if they expect anyone to take the so-called Paper of Record seriously in the future. This week, it just descended to the status of fringe-Left rag, and I say that as a long-time reader of the Times. (via Memeorandum)...

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

Pork, The Cholesterol Of Infrastructure

Remember when people acted outraged after the collapse of the St. Anthony Bridge in Minneapolis because of the neglect of American infrastructure? We don't spend enough on maintaining what our grandparents bequeathed us, as some poetically put it. Others offered more prosaic and predictable rants aimed at people who oppose tax increases; one Minneapolis crank blamed the Taxpayers League for the thirteen deaths. Had we taken more money from the people, they claimed, the bridge would have received proper maintenance and never would have collapsed, even though no one knows to this day what initiated the disaster. Before we start blaming a lack of money, though, let's take a look at the amount of wasted funds that this Congress approved even after the bridge collapsed: Six weeks after a fatal Minneapolis bridge collapse prompted criticism of federal spending priorities, the Senate approved a transportation and housing bill Wednesday containing at...

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

That Glow In Pyongyang-Damascus Relations

The Washington Post reports that evidence of a nuclear partnership between North Korea and Syria has received top-level attention in the Bush administration. In what appears to be a reverse of the problems of 9/11, the data has bypassed much of the intelligence bureaucracy and gone straight to the top: North Korea may be cooperating with Syria on some sort of nuclear facility in Syria, according to new intelligence the United States has gathered over the past six months, sources said. The evidence, said to come primarily from Israel, includes dramatic satellite imagery that led some U.S. officials to believe that the facility could be used to produce material for nuclear weapons. The new information, particularly images received in the past 30 days, has been restricted to a few senior officials under the instructions of national security adviser Stephen J. Hadley, leaving many in the intelligence community unaware of it...

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

Why We Need The Fence, Once Again

In a war on terror where our enemies seek to infiltrate their way into our nation, why has Congress and the Bush administration failed to secure the border? The 9/11 Commission pointed out the problem three years ago, and despite two decades of promises, we have done little to resolve it. Texas's homeland-security chief confirmed yesterday that the lax controls have allowed terrorists to enter through the southern border (via The Corner): Texas' top homeland security official said Wednesday that terrorists with ties to Hezbollah, Hamas and al-Qaida have been arrested crossing the Texas border with Mexico in recent years. "Has there ever been anyone linked to terrorism arrested?" Texas Homeland Security Director Steve McCraw said in a speech to the North Texas Crime Commission. "Yes, there was." His remarks appear to be among the most specific on the topic of terrorism arrests along the Texas-Mexico border. Local and elected...

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

Heading Right Radio: Senator Tom Coburn, Linda Bridges

Today on Heading Right Radio (Note special time: 1 pm CT), we will have two great guests on the show. First we have Linda Bridges, co-author of Strictly Right: William F. Buckley Jr. and the American Conservative Movement. We'll ask Linda about the insights we can find in her book about the father of the modern conservative movement. In the second half, we'll talk to one of the most important conservatives in office, Senator Tom Coburn of Oklahoma. Dr. Coburn will tell us about how pork gets a higher priority than bridge repair, and we'll find out what the doctor prescribes in cleaning out the federal budget. Call 646-652-4889 to join the conversation! Did you know that you can listen to Heading Right Radio through your TiVo service? Click here for the instructions. Also, you can subscribe to Heading Right Radio through iTunes now by clicking this link: BUMP:...

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

The Home-Officing Jihad

Austrian security officials arrested a group of radical Islamists for suspected terrorist activity yesterday in Vienna. These terrorist suspects went high-tech, as their contributions to global jihad appear limited to the Internet: According to information obtained by SPIEGEL ONLINE, one of those arrested is the presumed head of the German-language Global Islamic Media Front (GIMF), founded in fall 2005. Its model was the international GIMF, which came into being sometime around 2002 -- originally only in Arabic -- in order to redistribute al-Qaida material on the Internet. ... Austrian authorities revealed on Thursday their belief that the suspects arrested were in direct contact with al-Qaida over the Internet. According to Erik Buxbaum, Austria's general manager for public security, Austrian terror specialists followed events 'live' while the groups communicated. E-mail traffic was observed, and the group of young Muslims was kept under observation as part of a "large bugging operation" code-named...

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

Rediscover Your Party, Episode I

The National Republican Congressional Committee has launched a new effort today to connect with GOP voters by engaging on the issues. In their premiere, Reps. John Boehner and Roy Blunt talk about the importance of Iraq for American security. I've posted the YouTube of the presentation: I like the NRCC's approach. It's good to see the Republicans engage on policy in a direct and positive manner, and the minority leadership make good spokesmen for the GOP. We'll keep checking back on Rediscover Your Party as subsequent episodes appear....

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

My Blue Heaven

I moved out of California almost ten years ago, and besides my family, I rarely miss it. It's not that I dislike the Los Angeles area, but I prefer the pace of Minnesota living. The weather has its ups and downs -- waaaaaay ups and waaaaaay downs -- but it's cleaner, less crowded, and more personable. Certain things just don't transfer, though, and one of them is Dodger Stadium and Dodger baseball. It's been ten years since I've last been to Chavez Ravine, but I'll be going tonight to watch the Dodgers battle the San Diego Padres for the wild-card spot. We have baseball in Minnesota, but as fun as a Twins game can be, there is no better spot to watch a major-league game than Dodger Stadium. The stadium sits in Chavez Ravine like a crown in the hills. It has a spectacular view even without the baseball game....

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

September 14, 2007

Hsustock: The Definition Of Insanity

If the definition of insanity is repeating the same actions over and over despite consistent failure, then the American judiciary needs a shrink when it comes to Norman Hsu. Despite having run out on his sentencing for a nolo contendere plea on fraud 15 years ago, and despite having jumped bail when finally brought to justice for jumping bail before, a Colorado judge set a $5 million bail for Hsu: A judge ordered a cash bond of $5 million for Norman Hsu, the shadowy Democratic fund-raiser, after Colorado authorities told the court here that Mr. Hsu might have been involved in another multimillion-dollar fraud investigation involving dozens of investors in Orange County, Calif. The revelation that Mr. Hsu, a fugitive for 15 years in a California fraud case, might be implicated in another fraud investigation came after New York investors learned this week that $40 million they had invested with...

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

Superfluous

When I first heard that George Bush would address the nation this week after the testimony of General David Petraeus and Ambassador Ryan Crocker, I wondered who had made that mistake. The Republicans had put the Democrats back on their heels after the MoveOn debacle on Monday had revealed the low character of their base, and the news from Iraq made their rush to abandon Iraqis just when they had started to fight our enemies look even more craven. Momentum has shifted away from the defeat-and-retreat caucus. Why interfere with that, unless President Bush had a heretofore unsuspected piece of good news that would provide a conclusion that surpassed what Petraeus had to say? Why not let the best voices on this issue resonate a while longer? If President Bush wanted to top Petraeus and Crocker, then he needed enough substance to make it worthwhile -- and he didn't. It's...

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

Anything You Can Do I Can Do Better

The elation expressed by the Russian military over their new vacuum bomb has dissipated. The Russian news service Novosti notes today that the US has a more powerful bomb that goes deeper in the latest in phallus-measuring that apparently has started between Russia and the West (via Memeorandum): The U.S. has a 14-ton super bomb more destructive than the vacuum bomb just tested by Russia, a U.S. general said Wednesday. The statement was made by retired Lt. General McInerney, chairman of the Iran Policy Committee, and former Assistant Vice Chief of Staff of the Air Force. McInerney said the U.S. has "a new massive ordnance penetrator that's 30,000 pounds, that really penetrates ... Ahmadinejad has nothing in Iran that we can't penetrate." He also said the new Russian bomb was not a "penetrator." I think this is a slap at Russian manhood, actually. It's the military equivalent of accusing someone...

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

Drake: I'm Just Incompetent

UC Irvine Chancellor Michael Drake defends himself in the Los Angeles Times today for his firing of Erwin Chemerinsky as the school's first dean for their new law school. He claims that he did not renege on the signed contract a week after signing it because of Chemerinsky's political views, nor did he get pressured by the UC regents, donors, or politicians. So why did he fire Chemerinsky and embroil UCI in a completely avoidable controversy? Incompetence: The University of California at Irvine over the last several months has conducted a nationwide search for the founding dean of our school of law. Last week, I made an offer to Duke Professor Erwin Chemerinsky, an eminent academician, legal scholar and commentator. I subsequently made the very difficult decision that Professor Chemerinsky was not the right person for the dean's position and informed him that we were rescinding our offer and continuing...

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

He'll Scour The Golf Courses Looking For The Real Thief

Guess who's back in the sights of investigators? Following a theft of sports memorabilia at Palace Station Casino, law enforcement confirmed that they interrogated OJ Simpson in connection to the crime: Metro police confirmed early Friday morning that O.J. Simpson was questioned in connection to a theft at the Palace Station Casino. Police spokesman Jose Montoya said Simpson was questioned about a hotel room break-in at the casino late Thursday night. Montoya said the theft involved sports memorabilia, but offered no further details. Police said Simpson has been released and is believed to be in Las Vegas. Palace Station is a second-tier casino, but a good place to stay anonymous and gamble lightly. I'd say that it's a good place to stay out of trouble, but OJ can't manage to do even that much. And besides, he owes Fred Goldman $33 million -- what's he doing at a casino? Las...

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

Another Miscalculation By AQI

If al-Qaeda hoped to win the Sunni tribes in western Iraq back to their banner, they severely miscalculated in their assassination of Sheikh Abdul-Sattar Abu Risha. Instead of cowing his tribesmen and intimidating them back into submission, 1500 of them defiantly lined the road for his funeral, swearing revenge on AQI: Mourners vowed revenge and perseverance Friday at the funeral of the leader of the Sunni Arab revolt against al-Qaida militants who was assassinated just 10 days after meeting with President Bush in Iraq's Anbar province. ... "We will take our revenge," the mourners chanted along the 10 kilometer (6 mile) route to Risha's family cemetery, many of them crying. "We will continue the march of Abu Risha." ... Many high-ranking officials were on hand for the funeral, including Iraq's interior and defense ministers and National Security Adviser Mouwaffak al-Rubaie. "We condemn the killing of Abu Risha, but this will...

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

Rudy Gets Cheery News From Fox

Fox has just published its latest poll, conducted during the testimony of General David Petraeus, and it provides some encouragement to the Republicans. George Bush’s approval ratings have bounced back from their nadir during the immigration debate, but still remain rather dreadful. He still beats Congressional job approval ratings from voters of both parties. Bush has a 37% approval rating, up from 31% in June. Voters in both parties ranked Congress below that -- 34% among Democrats and 35% among Republicans. At Heading Right, I analyze the rest of the poll. The Democrats seem to have successfully painted General David Petraeus as an administration hack, although a plurality believe that the situation in Iraq has improved. Rudy Giuliani increased his lead among Republicans while Fred Thompson scored a post-announcement bump, and Hillary Clinton still has major negatives which could portend disaster for the Democrats in 2008....

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

Doubling Down While Retreating

MoveOn has found its use of the word "betrayal" so clever, it's extending the franchise. In this case, however, they apply it to George Bush and his plan to stick with the surge until its natural denouement: Just days after the group's political action committee caused a firestorm with a full page New York Times advertisement calling Gen. David Petraeus "General Betray Us," MoveOn has launched another commercial using the "betrayal" theme. But this time the group is firing away at a safer target: President Bush. In an ad titled "Betrayal of Trust" released this morning, MoveOn has scripted a fairly rudimentary commercial that flashes "130,000" several times to reflect the number of troops that will still be in Iraq next summer under Bush's redeployment plan. “He’s given us a sham draw-down plan," said MoveOn spokeswoman Nita Chaudhary. "30,000 troops by next July is not a plan to end the...

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

Heading Right Radio: Duane Patterson And Hugh Hewitt

Today on Heading Right Radio (2 pm CT), I go to the Undisclosed Location in Orange County to do our Week in Review show from Hugh Hewitt's studios. Both Hugh and Duane "Generalissimo" Patterson will join me -- and later in the day (5 pm CT) I believe I will join Hugh for his Friday evening show. Call 646-652-4889 to join the conversation! Did you know that you can listen to Heading Right Radio through your TiVo service? Click here for the instructions. Also, you can subscribe to Heading Right Radio through iTunes now by clicking this link:...

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

Media Notes And Quick Links

I hope everyone had a chance to catch our weekly round-up with Duane "Generalissimo" Patterson on Heading Right Radio. We actually ran over our time by about twelve minutes, so be sure to download the podcast. Speaking of which, I know that the iTunes subscription has stopped working, due to a URL change on our podcast RSS feed. I will work on a new iTunes subscription feed, but in the meantime, the correct RSS feed can be found on my sidebar, just below the BlogTalkRadio buttons. Tonight at 5 pm CT, I'll be back in the studio with Hugh Hewitt, appearing on his syndicated talk show. Hugh will have a segment or two with Mitt Romney, I believe, and I'll hang around and talk Pittsburgh Steelers football -- or perhaps a more joyful topic for Hugh. Be sure to tune in. Also, a few bloggers got a chance to interview...

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

Saletan Dismantles The Nature Neuroscience Conclusions

Progressive bloggers delighted in the news that a study in Nature Neuroscience "proved" that liberals had better cognitive and analytical skills than conservatives. The lead author wrote that liberals "tend to be more sensitive and responsive to information," which allowed them more flexibility in their thinking. They also supposedly tend to deal better with informational complexity and more open to change when provided with the necessary cues for it. William Saletan had a look at the study, and at Slate, he rips the wide-ranging conclusions taken from very narrow experiments: Let's take the claims one by one. 1. Habitual ways of thinking. Here's what the experiment actually entailed, according to the authors' supplementary document: [E]ither the letter "M" or "W" was presented in the center of a computer monitor screen. … Half of the participants were instructed to make a "Go" response when they saw "M" but to make no...

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

September 15, 2007

Chemerinsky And Drake To Do Beer Commercials?

If UCI has its way, Erwin Chemerinsky and Michael Drake may become the next Billy Martin and George Steinbrenner of academia. Days after firing Chemerinsky, and a few days more after hiring him, UCI has begun an effort to re-hire the legal scholar to resolve the controversy over his dismissal. Also, the Los Angeles Times discovers those who fought Chemerinsky's appointment, and it doesn't quite square with Drake's previous explanations (via Instapundit): UC Irvine officials on Friday were attempting to broker a deal to once again hire liberal scholar Erwin Chemerinsky as dean of its fledging law school, just three days after its chancellor set off a national furor by dumping him. ... An agreement would be an extraordinary development after Chemerinsky contended this week that Drake succumbed to political pressure from conservatives and sacked him because of his outspoken liberal positions. The flap threatened to derail the 2009 opening...

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

Simply Controversial

Should non-political publications allow their advertisers to criticize political figures in their ads? Is there a limit of exhaustion to political sniping? And what the heck does George Bush have to do with video telephony? Those questions sprang to Bob Mileti's mind when he saw this advertisement for the Bressler Group's Ojo phone in Appliance Magazine. Putting the word "simple" in large type next to a presumably Photoshopped image of President Bush holding their product, the Bressler Group obviously intends to express the simplicity of its device by implying that even someone as "simple" as Bush could operate it. Actually, I initially found the ad amusing, but wondered why a manufacturer would try to sell a product by annoying 37% of the market (according to the latest Fox poll). Also, why would Appliance Magazine -- which has little connection to politics -- want to leap into the high-tension world of...

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

UC Davis Disinvites Lawrence Summers

UC Davis had invited former Harvard president Lawrence Summers to speak at a board dinner during a visit from the regents on September 19th. After his invitation to speak created a firestorm of controversy on campus, the university disinvited Summers in a process that appears to be gaining ground on University of California campuses (via The Corner): After a group of UC Davis women faculty began circulating a petition, UC regents rescinded an invitation to Larry Summers, the controversial former president of Harvard University, to speak at a board dinner Wednesday night in Sacramento. The dinner comes during the regents' meeting at UCD next week. Summers gained notoriety for saying that innate differences between men and women could be a reason for under-representation of women in science, math and engineering. “The regents' dinners have always been informal, social occasions,” said UC spokesman Trey Davis. “Chairman (Richard) Blum and Dr. Summers...

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

AQI Declares War On The Sunni

The leaders of al-Qaeda in Iraq will never run short on enemies, mostly because they hate everybody. Today they issued a statement declaring war on the Sunni tribes of western Iraq, a move that will undoubtedly underscore the folly of believing them to be liberators in the post-invasion, pre-surge period: An al-Qaida front group warned it will hunt down and kill Sunni Arab tribal leaders who cooperate with the U.S. and its Iraqi partners, saying the assassination of the leader of the revolt against the terror movement was just a beginning. ... In claiming responsibility for Abu Risha's death Thursday, the Islamic State said it had formed "special security committees" to track down and "assassinate the tribal figures, the traitors, who stained the reputations of the real tribes by submitting to the soldiers of the Crusade" and the Shiite-led government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. "We will publish lists of...

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

September 16, 2007

Rebuilding?

The Fighting Irish have to come up with an explanation of a nightmare start to the 2007 season. Last year Notre Dame got exposed as an overrated football team, but this year they look like they belong in Division I-AA, as they have gone winless in three starts -- and outscored by 89 points. Winless Michigan threw off the schneid in Ann Arbor, pounding the Irish 38-zip: The Wolverines humbled the Fighting Irish, 38-0, today in an unprecedented matchup of major college football's winningest programs -- without a win or ranking between them. Mike Hart ran for 187 yards on 35 carries and scored two touchdowns to back up his guarantee of a victory, and freshman Ryan Mallett threw for three scores in a game that seemed over soon after it began. "I like being in the spotlight. For the wrong reasons? No," Hart said. "Hopefully, we'll be in the...

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

Heading Right Radio: Laura Ingraham, Roy Blunt

Monday on Heading Right Radio (2 pm CT), Laura Ingraham joins me to talk about her new book, Power to the People, which hit bookstores this week. It's a page-turner -- a deeply heartfelt book that wants to look for ways in which to get beyond red state/blue state labels and act to build America from the values up. In the second half of the show, we'll talk with House Minority Whip Roy Blunt about the Iraq war and the upcoming battles with Democrats on issues such as spending, taxes, and more. Call 646-652-4889 to join the conversation! Did you know that you can listen to Heading Right Radio through your TiVo service? Click here for the instructions. Also, you can subscribe to Heading Right Radio through iTunes now by clicking this link:...

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

US Gets Sattar Assassin

The US has captured the al-Qaeda terrorist who masterminded the assassination of the leader of Anbar Awakening. Intelligence following the murder pinned it on Fallah Khalifa Hiyas Fayyas al-Jumayli, who got captured outide of a town north of Baghdad: US forces in Iraq say they have seized a suspected al-Qaeda militant believed to have been behind the killing last week of a Sunni tribal leader. Abdul Sattar Abu Risha was killed in a bomb attack in the city of Ramadi, Anbar province, on Thursday. ... The US military statement said Jumayli was also responsible for "car bomb and suicide vest attacks in Anbar province, and is closely allied with senior al-Qaeda in Iraq leaders in the region". American intel has Jumayli at the head of the AQI offensive against Anbar Awakening leaders.announced just yesterday. If true, that indicates that AQI has a real problem maintaining operational security. The ability to...

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

The Axis Threw A Spoke

The Times of London believes that the Axis of Evil just "threw a spoke" after an Israeli attack demolished a joint Syrian-North Korean nuclear weapons project. Sources tell the Times that the attack successfully destroyed the facility and anything inside, as Iran's Mahmoud Ahmadinejad sent his nephew to check on the damage: IT was just after midnight when the 69th Squadron of Israeli F15Is crossed the Syrian coast-line. On the ground, Syria’s formidable air defences went dead. An audacious raid on a Syrian target 50 miles from the Iraqi border was under way. At a rendezvous point on the ground, a Shaldag air force commando team was waiting to direct their laser beams at the target for the approaching jets. The team had arrived a day earlier, taking up position near a large underground depot. Soon the bunkers were in flames. Ten days after the jets reached home, their mission...

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

Hsustock: What Did Hsu Want?

The Washington Post asks the question at the base of the Hsustock scandal, but comes up with few answers. What did Norman Hsu hope to gain by flooding the zone with millions in contributions to Democrats, especially Hillary Clinton? Where did he get the money at the beginning, before apparently fleecing Woodstock founder Joel Rosenman of $40 million? His investors would like the answers to all of the above: To raise $850,000 for Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's presidential campaign in just eight months, Norman Hsu tapped an eclectic group of donors that included wealthy investors in his apparel ventures, hotel shopkeepers, a 96-year-old in a Florida retirement home and an auto-body worker who mistakenly thought he would get a tax break for his political generosity. The Clinton campaign has not yet released any information about the 260 donors whose contributions it is now refunding because they were credited to the...

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

Mukasey Works, Too

From the armada of trial balloons floating from the White House the last two days, it appears that the Bush administration has shifted its favor from Ted Olson to Michael Mukasey for its choice to replace Alberto Gonzales as Attorney General. Mukasey had been rumored as a potential Supreme Court pick earlier, and has a solid record as a conservative jurist -- which he'll need after getting Chuck Schumer's blessing: One source close to the White House, describing Mukasey as the clear "front-runner," said Bush advisers appear to have decided that "they didn't want a big fight over attorney general" in the Senate, especially when other qualified candidates are also available. The source said Olson, who represented Bush in the Supreme Court fight over the contested 2000 election, would be seen as "very political," despite his outstanding legal credentials. Another well-connected GOP source, who also spoke on the condition of...

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

Fred Answers Your Question, Part 1

The Fred Thompson campaign has begun answering questions from Captain's Quarters readers as well as those of other blogs. In the first response, Senator Thompson answers this question on tax policy, submitted by Dan J on 9/5: Our tax code is overly complex and it seems people spend more time and money finding loopholes or for compliance than anything else. Several options have been floated for reform. Two that interest me are the Flat Tax and The FairTax Act (HR 25, S 1025). Between the Flat and Fair tax, which do you feel would have a better chance or being enacted and would a Thompson administration make reforming--not applying Band-Aids or allowing more bad re-writes of the same terrible rules--the tax code a priority? Here's the answer: More answers will be forthcoming soon. In the meantime, what's your evaluation of the answer and this process?...

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

September 17, 2007

Schumer Eats His Words, Up-Chucks

Chuck Schumer has begun his rapid retreat from his statements of support for Michael Mukasey. The New York Sun reports that Schumer, who had openly championed Mukasey as a "consensus candidate" to replace Alberto Gonzales as Attorney General, suddenly appears unsure of Mukasey after the White House reportedly settled on the retired New York judge for the nomination: President Bush's choice of Michael Mukasey, a retired judge from New York who has received the support of Senator Schumer, to be the next attorney general signals that the White House wishes to avoid a Senate confirmation battle. Still, it is unclear whether Mr. Schumer is willing to shepherd Judge Mukasey through confirmation hearings whose main topic could shape up to be the politicization of the Justice Department during Attorney General Gonzales's tenure. Mr. Schumer, one of the Senate's fiercest critics of Mr. Gonzales, has long touted Judge Mukasey for a position...

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

IDF Ends Its Silence On Al-Dura

The IDF has ended a seven-year silence on the al-Dura controversy, which countless critics of Israel has used to cast its military as a brutal and inhumane force. It now wants France's Channel 2 to release all of the outtakes from the report, claiming that the video sequence that purports to show the murder of a child was staged by Palestinian propagandists working in league French television: The IDF has abandoned its official silence in a seven-year-old case that has been characterized as a "blood libel" against the IDF and the State of Israel. On September 10, the deputy commander of the IDF's Spokesman's Office, Col. Shlomi Am-Shalom, submitted a letter to the France 2 television network's permanent correspondent in Israel, Charles Enderlin, regarding Enderlin's story from September 30, 2000, in which he televised 55 seconds of edited footage from the Netzarim junction in the central Gaza Strip purporting to...

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

Blackwater Blackballed

An American security firm that has become synonymous with private security in Iraq will no longer have permission to operate there. The Iraqi Interior Ministry has revoked Blackwater's license after the fatal shooting of civilians after an attack on a US State Department motorcade. The move may put more pressure on the US military to provide support for such events in the future: The Interior Ministry said Monday that it was pulling the license of an American security firm allegedly involved in the fatal shooting of civilians during an attack on a U.S. State Department motorcade in Baghdad. The ministry said it would prosecute any foreign contractors found to have used excessive force in the Sunday incident. Interior Ministry spokesman Abdul-Karim Khalaf said eight people were killed and 13 were wounded when security contractors working for Blackwater USA opened fire in a predominantly Sunni neighborhood of western Baghdad. "We have...

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

What Is It About OJ?

The saga of OJ Simpson continued yesterday with a bizarre arrest for armed robbery and conspiracy charges that could put the celebrity in prison for decades. Almost immediately, the moribund OJ industry snapped back to life, with people like Geraldo Rivera calling Mark Geragos back into session for the freak show that will follow the case as it wends its way through Las Vegas courts. And the nation sits in rapt attention, watching the further decline of a man who had reached the pinnacle of public adulation, only to become a by-word for narcissism and power. First, let's look at the case, which almost seems designed by OJ to land him in prison: Simpson, 60, was in custody at the Clark County Detention Center in Las Vegas on Sunday night after a judge ordered that he be held without bail, pending an arraignment set for Thursday. He was booked earlier...

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

Isn't Your Mommy Calling You?

Note to e-mailers: if you use the word "retarded" as a counterargument to something I wrote, I am not going to take you seriously. I am going to assume you have just started your middle-school classes, and are making yourself late for the bus. As my partner Mitch says, that is all....

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

Greenspan Clarifies

Over the weekend, an Alan Greenspan quote got plenty of mileage in the blogosphere. Greenspan wrote in his new book that "The Iraq war is largely about oil," but Greenspan says that quote has been taken out of context. At Heading Right, I provide the missing context. In fact, Greenspan meant almost the opposite of how the quote got reported and interpreted. Had the media read the book more closely, they would have discovered who actually made that argument to the administration, and who rejected it. It also calls into question the motives of those who decry "blood for oil" but leave us vulnerable to petroleum-based extortion....

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

The New French Realism

The change of government in Paris has given French diplomacy a new and welcome dose of realism. Bernard Kouchner has made it clear that Gallic patience has come to an end where Iran is concerned. If Iran continues in its nuclear intransigence, Kouchner announced, the world must prepare for war: The world should "prepare for war" with Iran, the French foreign minister has said, significantly escalating tensions over the country's nuclear programme. Bernard Kouchner said that while "we must negotiate right to the end" with Iran, if Teheran possessed an atomic weapon it would represent "a real danger for the whole world". The world should "prepare for the worst... which is war", he said. His comments came after Washington reminded Teheran that "all options were on the table" in confronting its nuclear policy, which many officials in the West believe has the ultimate aim of arming a nuclear warhead, despite...

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

The Vanishing Al Hamed

A North Korean ship that purportedly reflagged itself as South Korean to evade Western investigators has disappeared from view after the Israeli strike on Syria last week. The Al Hamed delivered what the Syrians classified as cement in the days before the strike, and an Israeli tracer says the ship has not been seen since: A suspicious North Korean freighter that re-flagged itself as South Korean before off-loading an unknown cargo at the Syrian port of Tartous is at the centre of efforts today to investigate Israel's recent airstrike on Syria. An Israeli on-line data analyst, Ronen Solomon, found an internet trace for the 1,700-tonne cargo ship, Al Hamed, which showed the vessel started to off-load what Syrian officials categorised as "cement" on Sept 3. This was three days before Israeli jets attacked a site in the north eastern desert of Syria, not far from its border with Iraq. Since...

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

The Truth About J-Schools

One has to wonder what kind of journalists the storied Columbia School of Journalism intends to produce. If the column published this month by Idris Leppla ten days ago for the Columbia Spectator gives any hint, we can expect novices of the obvious who infantilize the people who serve as their subjects. This time she uses her brother, who applied to and entered the Naval Academy at Annapolis, apparently without Idris and her mother realizing it meant joining the Navy: Before he left, my family had countless talks about what it might mean to be at an academy. While we knew that someday he would be required to serve, we also were drawn to the top-tier education he was promised to receive. We were told that the Naval Academy was first and foremost an elite college. He would be able to learn history, economics, political science, and even engineering. He...

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

Heading Right Radio At The New BlogTalkRadio: Laura Ingraham, Roy Blunt

It's an exciting day for BlogTalkRadio! We've launched our new version of BTR's website, an effort that has taken months of hard work by our development team. The final result shows that BTR has listened to its hosts and listeners, and we have a new, more robust environment in which to deliver cutting-edge live shows and podcasts on every topic imaginable. New features include: * Live chat (see my note below for news on this feature!) * Improved search tools * Save favorites * Rate shows * Listener profiles * New buttons and media player * Friend lists * Comments * Private messages * Profile page video or HTML * Advertising programs One of the changes you'll notice is the addition of listener profiles. Listeners and hosts can now customize their profile pages, add friends and favorite shows, rate shows and private message or chat with hosts. We've given all...

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

Should I Move To Minnetonka?

The answer to that question is usually Only if I win the Powerball lottery, but Jim Ramstad's announced retirement after 18 years in the House leaves yet another tough election campaign for the Republicans in 2008. The 3rd District will likely need as many GOP voters as it can get, because it's one of the remarkable minority of Congressional districts that remains competitive after decades of gerrymandering: U.S. Rep. Jim Ramstad announced today that he is retiring from Congress next year and will not seek a 10th term. Ramstad has represented the Third District, made up of the southern, western and northern suburbs of Minneapolis, since he was first elected in 1990. After 17-years of commuting to Washington as a congressman, Ramstad said he's "burned out" in an interview before his official announcement. "My passion for serving people remains as strong as ever," said the Minnesota Republican, one of the...

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

September 18, 2007

Next They Came For The Schools

Hugo Chavez has progressed onto the next agenda item in his bid to create a new Cuba out of Venezuela. He has threatened private schools with closure if they do not teach their students to adopt his socialist vision, ending the independence of educators and taking another step towards indoctrinating children: Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has threatened the country's private schools with closure unless they adopt the government's socialist ideology. Mr Chavez warned all schools they must introduce a new curriculum this year that he said would help develop values of cooperation and solidarity. Education had been ignored by past governments, said the president. But many parents are concerned that the new curriculum will spell indoctrination for their children. One has to wonder when the people of Venezuela will say, "Enough!" Will it be when Hugo sends the state after their children? Or will the parents of these children simply...

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

Musharraf Will Resign From Army

Pervez Musharraf has apparently cut a deal with Benazir Bhutto for her return to Pakistan and his future in politics. His representatives told the Supreme Court that Musharraf would resign as army Chief of Staff if re-elected to the presidency and govern as a civilian. This could remove the last obstacle to ending Bhutto's exile and strengthen the Pakistani moderates: Pakistan's President Pervez Musharraf will give up his post of army chief if he is re-elected president and he will be sworn in for a new term as a civilian, his lawyer told the Supreme Court on Tuesday. The promise to stand down as army chief removes a major objection to Musharraf's proposed re-election by October 15. ... Giving up the army role would undoubtedly dilute Musharraf's power in a country that has been ruled by generals for more than half the 60 years since it was founded. But it...

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

Russia, China Don't Like Sabre Rattling

Both Russia and China have reacted to the French realism over Iran with warnings about using warlike rhetoric. The two nations insisted that statements from France and the United States about military options would not help resolve the situation and said the nuclear standoff would only find resolution through diplomacy: Any US military intervention in Iran would be a "political error" that would have "catastrophic" consequences, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Losyukov said in an interview published Tuesday. ... "We are convinced that there is no military solution to the Iranian problem. It's impossible. Besides, it is quite clear that there is no military solution to the Iraq problem either. But in the case of Iran everything could be even more complicated," he said. ... China is opposed to threatening Iran with war over its nuclear program and stands for a diplomatic solution, a government spokeswoman said on Tuesday. ......

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

RIP Firewall Of Sanity: 2005-2007

I come not to praise Times Select, but to bury it. Richard Perez-Pena could have written those words at the top of his story for the New York Times today, but he chose to wax more prosaic in reporting the end of the subscription service at the Paper of Record. Not only will the paper make current content available without restriction, but it will also make most of its archives available for free as well (via Memeorandum): The New York Times will stop charging for access to parts of its Web site, effective at midnight Tuesday night. The move comes two years to the day after The Times began the subscription program, TimesSelect, which has charged $49.95 a year, or $7.95 a month, for online access to the work of its columnists and to the newspaper’s archives. TimesSelect has been free to print subscribers to The Times and to some...

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

The Islamist Plot Against The US

The trial of the Holy Land Foundation has produced some interesting insights into the strategies of our radical Islamist enemies. A document from the Muslim Brotherhood organization in the US describes how it planned to undermine and destroy American democracy and replace it with an Islamic theocracy, which is by turns both traitorous and ridiculous (via Michelle Malkin, Hot Air, and Rick Moran): A 1991 strategy paper for the Brotherhood, often referred to as the Ikhwan in Arabic, found in the Virginia home of an unindicted co-conspirator in the case, describes the group's U.S. goals, referred to as a "civilization-jihadist process." "The Ikhwan must understand that their work in America is a kind of grand jihad in eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within and sabotaging its miserable house by their hands and the hands of the believers so that it is eliminated and God's religion is made victorious...

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

Hugo Plays Hide The Salami

Michael Stickings provides an interesting comparison between the Soviet efforts to co-opt Europe and the tactics of Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez. Using a model described in a British television series, Stickings calls Chavez’ slow push towards tyranny “salami tactics”. By going one slice at a time rather than in a rush, Chavez hopes to hold off any strong reaction to his power grab, and it seems to be working. Stickings, who blogs at The Reaction as well as at TMV, can hardly be dismissed as a conservative with a chip on his shoulder regarding socialism. He is one of the few on the Left who sees Chavez for the threat to personal liberty that he is. At Heading Right, I take a look at Venezuelan salami and wonder how long it will take before Venezuelans -- and Chavez apologists -- start to choke on it....

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

The Good News Of Empty Beds

Reuters reported that a lack of customers for a specific business in Baghdad indicates good news in Iraq's sectarian strife, albeit passively so. The hospital and morgue that used to overflow with the wounded and the dead has seen business drop dramatically, indicating that the surge has had a substantial effect on the capital as well as the western provinces: A row of beds lies empty in the emergency ward of Baghdad's Yarmouk Hospital. The morgue, which once overflowed with corpses, is barely a quarter full. Doctors at the hospital, a barometer of bloodshed in the Iraqi capital, say there has been a sharp fall in victims of violence admitted during a seven-month security campaign. Last month the fall was particularly dramatic, with 70 percent fewer bodies and half the number of wounded brought in compared to July, hospital director Haqi Ismail said. "The major incidents, like explosions and car...

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

Heading Right Radio: NZ Bear And Open Congress

Today on Heading Right Radio (Note special time: 1 pm CT), we'll welcome NZ Bear back to the show to talk about Victory Caucus and his work with Gathering of Eagles. We'll also be talking with David Moore of Open Congress, which has a new blog widget intended to keep Congress under close scrutiny no matter what your political inclination. Call 646-652-4889 to join the conversation! And join the live chat during the show to meet with other HRR listeners! UPDATE: Chat's now up and running! Did you know that you can listen to Heading Right Radio through your TiVo service? Click here for the instructions. Also, you can subscribe to Heading Right Radio through iTunes now by clicking this link:...

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

Voting 'Rights' Bill For DC Fails

The effort by Democrats to allow the District of Columbia to elect Congressional representation failed to survive a procedural vote in the Senate today. As the White House threatened a veto, Harry Reid could not even get the 60 votes necessary to consider the bill passed earlier in the House: Republican lawmakers today blocked the Senate from taking up the D.C. voting rights bill, dealing a major blow to the District's most promising effort in years to get a full member of Congress. The vote was merely on whether to begin action on the bill. But only 57 senators voted in favor, short of the 60 needed to proceed. Without enough support to vault the Senate's procedural hurdles, the bill is expected to stall for this year, and possibly next year as well. The vote was a crushing disappointment to activists who have worked for years to gain voting representation...

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

Attending Solutions Day

Newt Gingrich will stage his Solutions Day conference on Thursday, September 27th, and Captain's Quarters will be there. I'm traveling under my own steam to be one of American Solutions' official bloggers for the event. I'll blog live from the launch that evening, and I will get a chance to interview Newt Gingrich Here's the description of the event from American Solutions: American Solutions for Winning the Future is a new, non-partisan organization built around three goals: to defend America and our allies abroad and defeat our enemies, to strengthen and revitalize America’s core values, and to move the government into the 21st Century. The General Chairman is former Speaker Newt Gingrich. ... If you have an idea that you want to promote that is going to make life better for yourselves, your neighbors and your fellow Americans, this is your opportunity to get involved. It’s not often that one...

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

September 19, 2007

Zimbabwe: Reform Or Ruse?

Zimbabwe's opposition party has reached agreement with Robert Mugabe's organization to achieve some political reform in time for the next election. Mugabe has given up his ability to directly appoint one-quarter of the legislature, a key prop to maintaining a majority and controlling the body. However, the reforms will only improve the chances for the opposition if the election is clean: Zimbabwe's opposition party, the Movement for Democratic Change, yesterday struck a deal with Robert Mugabe to change the country's electoral laws. The rule change abolishes President Mugabe's right to appoint 30 MPs, removing a major hurdle to the opposition winning an election. But it also increases the number of constituencies from 120 to 210, which the ruling Zanu-PF party could easily gerrymander to return loyalist MPs. But observers believe that the deal could mark a breakthrough and that talks chaired by South Africa could produce a new constitution in...

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

Instant Karma

Syrian and Iranian efforts to add chemical warheads to Scud missiles backfired two months ago, according to Jane's Weekly. Instead of killing Israelis by firing them at their cities, it killed dozens of engineers attempting to load the WMD onto rockets for a Syrian attack (via Power Line): Proof of cooperation between Iran and Syria in the proliferation and development of weapons of mass destruction was brought to light Monday in a Jane's Defence Weekly report that dozens of Iranian engineers and 15 Syrian officers were killed in a July 23 accident in Syria. According to the report, cited by Channel 10, the joint Syrian-Iranian team was attempting to mount a chemical warhead on a Scud missile when the explosion occurred, spreading lethal chemical agents, including sarin nerve gas. Reports of the accident were circulated at the time; however, no details were released by the Syrian government, and there were...

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

Don't Tell Hillary, But Privatization Works In Education, Too

Remember Hillary Clinton's declaration that privatization never works? She may want to look at a new study in the Journal of Public Economics, which analyzed the effect of a school voucher system in Milwaukee. Not only did privatization improve the education of childred redirected from the public school system, it also forced the public schools to improve to remain competitive: As a voucher program in Milwaukee has expanded, taking money and pupils out of public schools, the schools have responded by ramping up their own performance, a forthcoming study in the Journal of Public Economics argues. The paper offers one of the most positive conclusions yet drawn in the heated debate over the effects of the 17-year-old Milwaukee program, which in 2007 sent more than 17,000 low-income Milwaukee students to private schools via publicly funded scholarships. It is the nation's largest publicly funded voucher experiment, having grown from seven participating...

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

Democrats Backing Down On Iraq -- For Now

The Democrats have signaled retreat once again on their push to abandon Iraq, deciding that they have to wait until next summer to regain momentum on timelines for withdrawal. Instead, they will focus on creating obstacles for the Pentagon in its efforts to maintain necessary troop levels, although that effort appears to be failing as well: Unable to garner enough Republican support, Senate Democratic leaders said yesterday that they are abandoning a bipartisan effort to bring U.S. troops home from Iraq by next spring. Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) said that Democrats had been willing to make the troop withdrawal a "goal" in order to attract GOP support, but it never materialized. Instead, Reid will again push for a firm deadline, this time June 2008, along with a stronger effort at cutting off war funding. ... In recent weeks, Reid and other Democratic leaders had indicated they were...

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

Recognizing Reality

Israel has declared Hamas-run Gaza as a "hostile entity," a move that allows Israel to consider ending supplies of water and electricity to the region. Hamas objected to the designation, calling it an act of war, which never seemed to bother them while they called for Israel's destruction: The Israeli government has declared the Gaza Strip a "hostile entity" in response to the continued rocket attacks by Palestinian militants there. The Israeli decision could lead to Israel cutting off vital water, fuel or electricity supplies to the territory. ... Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's office said his security cabinet had approved the "hostile entity" classification at a meeting on Wednesday morning. "Additional restrictions will be imposed on the Hamas regime, limiting the transfer of goods to the Gaza Strip, cutting back fuel and electricity, and restricting the movement of people to and from the strip," a statement said. The sanctions...

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

Jesse Jackson: Obama 'Acting Like He's White'

One of the sillier memes of this political season has been whether Barack Obama is "black enough" for African-American support. Jesse Jackson has chimed into the debate, but not on the side one might expect. The former presidential candidate told South Carolina voters that Obama acts like a white man because he doesn't make a bigger issue of the Jena case in Louisiana (via Hot Air): Jackson sharply criticized presidential hopeful and Illinois Sen. Barack Obama for “acting like he’s white” in what Jackson said has been a tepid response to six black juveniles’ arrest on attempted-murder charges in Jena, La. Jackson, who also lives in Illinois, endorsed Obama in March, according to The Associated Press. “If I were a candidate, I’d be all over Jena,” Jackson said after an hour-long speech at Columbia’s historically black Benedict College. “Jena is a defining moment, just like Selma was a defining moment,”...

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

WaPo: The Soviets Died For Liberty (Bumped)

Newspapers like to play gotcha games with presidential candidates and their stump speeches. Most of the time, the fact-checking sessions focus on number-juggling on tax proposals and spending policy, and they find plenty of daylight between claims and reality. However, when the Washington Post attempts to fact-check Fred Thompson on historical references, they reveal more of their bias than of Fred's. They try to take apart Fred's claim that Americans "have shed more blood for other people's liberty than any other combination of nations in the history of the world", and manage to completely miss the point: The number of overall U.S. military casualties, while high, is still relatively low in comparison to those of its World War I and World War II allies. In World War II alone, the Soviet Union suffered at least 8 million casualties, or more than 10 times the number of U.S. casualties for all...

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

Heading Right Radio: Live From Investors Business Daily

Today on Heading Right Radio (Note special time: 1 pm CT), we will broadcast live from the offices of Investors Business Daily. Three of the great IBD staff join us to talk about their latest efforts: Terry Jones will cover HillaryCare, Monica Showalter brings us up to date on George Soros, and Michael Ramirez will talk about the latest in editorial cartoons and Islam. Call 646-652-4889 to join the conversation! And don't forget to join our chat room during the show. Did you know that you can listen to Heading Right Radio through your TiVo service? Click here for the instructions. Also, you can subscribe to Heading Right Radio through iTunes now by clicking this link: BUMP: To top!...

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

Courage!

Dan Rather has had three years to mull over his options after his disastrous participation in Memogate, and he has reached the conclusion that the most wronged person in the debacle was ... Dan Rather. After spending the last three years insisting that the obviously fraudulent memos he broadcast as senior editor of CBS Nightly News have not been proven fakes, he now will sue CBS for $70 million for not participating in his fantasies: Dan Rather, whose career at CBS News ground to an inglorious end 15 months ago over his role in an unsubstantiated report questioning President Bush’s Vietnam-era National Guard service, filed a lawsuit this afternoon against the network, its corporate parent and three of his former superiors. Mr. Rather, 75, asserts that the network violated his contract by giving him insufficient airtime on “60 Minutes” after forcing him to step down as anchor of the “CBS...

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

The Hsu-To-Mile-High Choo-Choo On Wrong Track: Spokesman

The Norman Hsu case continues on its strange path today, as the Democratic fundraiser waived his extradition challenge to return to California. His spokesman attempted what will certainly be his excuse when he appears in a San Mateo courtroom, by claiming that a disoriented Hsu got on the wrong train: Disgraced Democratic fundraiser Norman Hsu, wanted in California on a 15-year-old felony theft conviction, agreed Wednesday to return to the state without a fight. Hsu appeared in court, his hands cuffed and his ankles shackled, as he read legal documents waiving his rights and signed four copies of the paperwork. He also answered Judge Brian Flynn's questions about giving up his right to fight extradition. ... A Hsu spokesman said Wednesday that he had intended to appear for his court date in California but may have mistakenly boarded a train out of state. Jason Booth said Hsu was "sick and...

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

September 20, 2007

Minnesota Bridge Contractor Selected

The state of Minnesota has chosen its prime contractor for the replacement of the collapsed St. Anthony Bridge, and Minnesotans may feel relieved that the state didn't choose the lowest bidder. Instead, they selected the firm with the highest bid and the longest predicted time to completion, but included plenty of incentives for faster work: Despite submitting the most expensive pricetag and acknowledging that it would take longer than others to do the job, a Colorado company on Wednesday won an intense competition to build the new Interstate 35W bridge in Minneapolis. A team of companies led by Flatiron Construction, the ninth-largest transportation contractor in the country, won a four-way competition with a $233.8 million bid to replace the bridge that collapsed into the Mississippi River last month and killed 13 people. The lead company estimated that it would need just over 14 months to complete the project, and Minnesota...

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

AQ Video: Crusaders Admit They're Losing

Ayman al-Zawahiri tells the mujaheddin that the US finds itself losing in Iraq and Afghanistan, all appearances to the contrary -- and that our politicians admit our defeat. The new al-Qaeda video includes Mohammed Atta's last recorded words as well as the usual stream of AQ propaganda: Al-Qaida's deputy leader Ayman al-Zawahri said the United States was being defeated in Afghanistan, Iraq and other fronts in a new video released Thursday, the latest in a series put out by the terror network. ... "What they claim to be the strongest power in the history of mankind is today being defeated in front of the Muslim vanguards of jihad six years after the two raids on New York and Washington," al-Zawahri said, speaking in what appeared to be an office, with shelves of religious books and an automatic rifle leaning against them. "The Crusaders themselves have testified to their defeat in...

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

Former CBS Producer Rips Rather

Forget the O.J. Simpson trial. The court case with the highest bitchiness quota in years will be the lawsuit that Dan Rather filed against CBS yesterday. Howard Kurtz tracked down Josh Howard, the executive producer of 60 Minutes II that resigned after the airing of the infamous National Guard segment, and Howard thinks Rather has lost his mind: CBS management "coerced" the veteran news anchor "into publicly apologizing and taking personal blame for alleged journalistic errors in the broadcast," says the $70 million suit, which also names Sumner Redstone, chief executive of the network's then-parent company, Viacom; CBS Chairman Les Moonves; and former CBS News president Andrew Heyward. Several former colleagues said they were baffled by the move. "I think he's gone off the deep end," said Josh Howard, who was forced to resign as executive producer of "60 Minutes II" after CBS retracted the story. "He seems to be...

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

Congress Should Protect The Telecoms

Newsweek has a special web report from Michael Isikoff and Mark Hosenball regarding a "secretive" effort to lobby Congress by the telecommunications industry. Since Congress passed FISA legislation essentially endorsing the warrantless surveillance of communications from abroad, the ACLU and other groups have targeted the regional Bell operating companies (RBOCs) that cooperate with the NSA in order to shut down the Terrorist Surveillance Program. Now the telecom industry wants immunity from these lawsuits: The nation’s biggest telecommunications companies, working closely with the White House, have mounted a secretive lobbying campaign to get Congress to quickly approve a measure wiping out all private lawsuits against them for assisting the U.S. intelligence community’s warrantless surveillance programs. The campaign-which involves some of Washington's most prominent lobbying and law firms-has taken on new urgency in recent weeks because of fears that a U.S. appellate court in San Francisco is poised to rule that the...

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

Terrorists Go Home -- And That Means You, Mahmoud

These days, not too much unites Americans. We spend most of our time heatedly debating the war in Iraq, domestic spending policies, and issues of culture and race. However, one event has galvanized the American body politic into unanimity, and ironically, it's Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's visit to Ground Zero: New York pols were outraged at the prospect of the Iranian stepping on perhaps the city's most hallowed ground. "It is unacceptable for Iranian President Ahmadinejad, who refuses to renounce and end his own country's support of terrorism, to visit the site of the deadliest terrorist attack on American soil in our nation's history," said Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton. Former Mayor Rudy Giuliani called the idea "outrageous." "This is a man who has made threats against America and Israel, is harboring [Osama] Bin Laden's son and other al Qaeda leaders, is shipping arms to Iraqi insurgents and is pursuing the development of...

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

Heading Right Radio: Matt Bai, NZ Bear

Today on Heading Right Radio (Note special time: 1 pm CT), I'll be interviewing Matt Bai, author of The Argument. We'll talk about his thoughts on bloggers, billionaires, and politics. I'll also air an interview I did with NZ Bear about the Gathering of Eagles protest last weekend, which didn't get much exposure due to site difficulties on Tuesday. Call 646-652-4889 to join the conversation! And don't forget to log into the chat session during the show! Did you know that you can listen to Heading Right Radio through your TiVo service? Click here for the instructions. Also, you can subscribe to Heading Right Radio through iTunes now by clicking this link:...

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

Come To Jihad, What's Old Is What's New

Infidels come from the strangest places! Osama bin Laden found a lot of them very close to home. In his latest video, OBL declares a holy war on Pervez Musharraf and the military clique ruling Pakistan, after his siege of the Red Mosque produced plenty of martyrs: Al-Qaida chief Osama bin Laden called on Pakistanis to wage a holy war against President Gen. Pervez Musharraf in a new recording released Thursday, saying his military's siege of a militant mosque stronghold makes him an infidel. The storming of the Red Mosque in Islamabad in July "demonstrated Musharraf's insistence on continuing his loyalty, submissiveness and aid to America against the Muslims ... and makes armed rebellion against him and removing him obligatory," bin Laden said in the message. ... The message, titled "Come to Jihad," was the third from bin Laden this month in a flurry of videos and audiotapes marking the...

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

25 Senate Democrats Support "Betray Us", Including Hillary

The Senate passed the Jon Cornyn amendment condemning the MoveOn.org ad that called General David Petraeus a liar and potential traitor, 72-25. All 25 Senators who voted in support of these smears against an American military commander that they unanimously promoted to four stars came from the Democratic Party. It includes two declared presidential candidates and the top leadership of the Senate Democratic Caucus. Those who voted to support MoveOn's smear: NAYs ---25 Akaka (D-HI) Bingaman (D-NM) Boxer (D-CA) Brown (D-OH) Byrd (D-WV) Clinton (D-NY) Dodd (D-CT) Durbin (D-IL) Feingold (D-WI) Harkin (D-IA) Inouye (D-HI) Kennedy (D-MA) Kerry (D-MA) Lautenberg (D-NJ) Levin (D-MI) Menendez (D-NJ) Murray (D-WA) Reed (D-RI) Reid (D-NV) Rockefeller (D-WV) Sanders (I-VT) Schumer (D-NY) Stabenow (D-MI) Whitehouse (D-RI) Wyden (D-OR) It's a particularly sad commentary on the Democratic Party that they cannot bring themselves to support the very commander they sent to lead American troops in battle...

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

Federal Charges Against Hillary Fundraiser

Norman Hsu's life just got a lot more complicated. Earlier today, federal prosecutors in New York announced that the filing of criminal charges against Hsu, who still has yet to serve a three-year term for fraud first imposed in 1992: Hsu was charged with orchestrating a $60 million "Ponzi Scheme" and engaging in widespread campaign finance violations. ... Hsu has been a key Democratic Party fundraiser in recent years, donating large amounts including to the campaign of Sen. Hillary Clinton. Federal authorities investigated Hsu's business dealings as prominent Democrats have been scrambling to return his campaign donations. Clinton has said she will return $850,000 the convicted scam artist had helped raise for her presidential campaign. Hsu is in custody on an outstanding fraud warrant in California. Reports surfaced this summer raising questions if Hsu was illegally funneling money into campaigns through third parties. The complaint shows that the feds mean...

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

The Trinity Of Originalism

Conservatives often argue that they support originalism in judicial temperament. That term has fallen a little out of use in favor of judicial modesty, as expressed by Chief Justice John Roberts during his confirmation hearing. Others use "strict construction" instead, which, strictly speaking, is not synonymous, but prefers a strict textual reading rather than flexible application. However, David Schraub at The Debate Link has delved further into originalism to discover three distinct lines of thought within that philosophy -- and some aspects in each contradict the others: Nonetheless, some folk do at least purport to assign originalism some special interpretative value. Unfortunately, many of them seem to have but a weak grasp of what originalism actually entails. For one, they often blend "originalism" and "textualism", when the two are actually very different things and often radically opposed to each other. But in this post specifically, I'm going to try and...

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

Rather On King: Incoherent

Dan Rather appeared on Larry King Live tonight, and the most charitable description one can give Rather is incoherent. He could barely complete a sentence, and when he could, he sputtered about grand conspiracies among "Big Corporations" to undermine independent journalism. Declaring that "this is the right fight at the right time," he couldn't explain why he told Larry King that he and CBS made a mistake in running the story, only eight months after the collapse of the CBS story. It's almost breathtaking in its excruciating wonder. He says that he's the only man who bring out the truth about what happened at CBS, when he could stammer out a coherent thought at all. Bear in mind that the truth-seeking Rather still thinks that his source (Bill Burkett) has never been impeached, that the type-set memos still haven't been proven impossible to produce on the Texas Air National Guard's...

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

September 21, 2007

Another Kind Of Tap Lesson For The Senate

Earlier this month, we discovered all we needed to know about wide stances and tap dances from Republican Senator Larry Craig, and the GOP got wind burns in their race to throw him under the bus. Now we have a different kind of tap haunting another Republican Senator, and this one relates much more closely to the people's business than a flirtation in a Minneapolis airport salle de bain. Ted Stevens found out that the FBI has tapped his conversations with an Alaskan oil executive already in hot water in another corruption case: The FBI, working with an Alaska oil contractor, secretly taped telephone calls with Sen. Ted Stevens as part of a public corruption sting, according to people close to the investigation. The secret recordings suggest the Justice Department was eyeing Stevens long before June, when the Republican senator first publicly acknowledged he was under scrutiny. At that time,...

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

Diyala Tribes Begin Their Own Awakening

Most of the major tribes in the Iraqi province of Diyala have signed agreements to support US and Iraqi forces against extremists, a development that has already resulted in a sharp improvement in intelligence flowing to security forces in the region. Just as in Anbar, the surge in the key province has resulted in a significant shift in allegiances. Unlike Anbar, however, it doesn't just involve Sunnis: Most of the major tribes in a strategic province northeast of Baghdad have signed agreements to support U.S. and Iraqi forces, a sign the alliance-building initiative that started in Anbar province is spreading. In Diyala province, tribal leaders representing 20 of the province's 25 major tribes have signed agreements brokered by the local government, said Army Col. David Sutherland, a brigade commander there. The shift has led to more tips from citizens and a reduction in violence, the U.S. military says. Weekly attacks...

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

The Bully Boys Of The Internet

The Dan Rather lawsuit has given more of the TANG story figures a new lease on life, even if animated by the former CBS anchor's strange brand of conspiracy thinking. The woman who had the most responsibility for the airing of the 60 Minutes II segment, Mary Mapes, hit the Huffington Post last night to deliver a tirade against the "bully boys" who had the temerity to question authority: It has been three years since we aired our much-maligned story on President Bush's National Guard service and reaped a whirlwind of right-wing outrage and talk radio retaliation. That part of the assault on our story was not unexpected. In September 2004, anyone who had the audacity to even ask impertinent questions about the president was certain to be figuratively kicked in the head by the usual suspects. What was different in our case was the brand new and bruising power...

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

The Exhaustion Of Partisan Wrangling?

The Washington Post analyzes the career of Attorney General nominee Michael Mukasey and delivers a positive review, calling Mukasey "conservative, but not doctrinaire, and fair". The Post's conclusions have largely been accepted across the political spectrum. Could this indicate a relatively free ride for Mukasey? Many lawyers who have practiced before Mukasey, 66, describe him as conservative but not doctrinaire, and fair. The long judicial record created by Mukasey's 18 years as judge on the U. S. District Court for the Southern District of New York included thousands of cases that ranged from high-profile terrorism trials to lengthy insurance battles over liability in the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the twin towers, and a case in which a jury awarded $100 to a woman who said boxer Mike Tyson grabbed her buttocks. His generally conservative demeanor on the bench and his self-confidence seem particularly pronounced in his handling of the...

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

Hsu's Method To His Madness

Most people who puzzle over the efforts of Norman Hsu focus, and rightly so, on where Hsu came up with the boatloads of money that went to Democratic candidates and organizations. Flip Pidot at Suitably Flip decided to ask another question -- why did Hsu donate to certain candidates and not others? Flip discovers an indirect link to Bill Clinton's cabinet: This is peculiar. As an A-list Democratic fundraiser, Hsu is typically the bundler in these transactions, not the bundlee. So what gives? Lillian Vernon is a trinket catalog company, perhaps best known for its constant lampooning on Mad TV. It was founded by Lillian Hochberg in Mount Vernon, NY (clever, eh?) in 1951. Lillian's son Fred is the current CEO and his brother David is an executive at the company. If you run a search for Fred Hochberg's own federal political contributions, the telltale Hsu pattern once again emerges....

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

Heading Right Radio: Duane Patterson And The Week In Review

Today on Heading Right Radio (2 pm CT), I go to the Undisclosed Location in Orange County to do our Week in Review show from Hugh Hewitt's studios. Both Hugh and Duane "Generalissimo" Patterson will join me -- and later in the day (5 pm CT) I believe I will join Hugh for his Friday evening show. We'll discuss the "bully boys" of the Internet and the return of Rathernoia, and much more. Call 646-652-4889 to join the conversation! Did you know that you can listen to Heading Right Radio through your TiVo service? Click here for the instructions. Also, you can subscribe to Heading Right Radio through iTunes now by clicking this link:...

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

Losing Momentum On Retreat

The Senate rejected a bill from Carl Levin and Jack Reed that would have mandated a withdrawal from Iraq in nine months. In a sign that the Democrats have lost the momentum on its retreat policy, the bill garnered five less votes than a similar proposal earlier this summer. At Heading Right, I take a look at the ramifications of this defeat for the anti-war Democrats. The Democrats thought they had the momentum on the Iraq war. They had ridden a wave of public discontent with the conduct of the war to the brink of shutting it down. Instead of victory on retreat, they have now had to retreat as we win important gains in Iraq. Their short sell on the surge has turned out to be a bad gamble....

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

George Soros, International Man Of Mystery

George Soros has gained a reputation among some as a benefactor of millions through his charitable works, as well as one of an advocate of open politics. Others see his contributions as more sinister, including the manner in which he made his billions from the beginning. Monica Showalter of Investors Business Daily takes a look at the contradictory assessments of Soros and paints a picture perhaps even more disturbing than his detractors realize: Soros' efforts go beyond spin. He has also bankrolled groups involved in the manipulation of elections, an activity that has increased since his money came into the picture. Two groups — Americans Coming Together and the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now — were sanctioned recently by the Federal Election Commission for fraud. Soros pledged $10 million to ACT, which has since been fined $775,000 for illegally funneling $70 million set aside for voter registrations to...

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

There Are Morons, But They Don't Include George Bush

It has become apparent that some journalists covering President Bush either have a learning disability or work extra hard to twist his words until the reporters turn into novelists. The latest to prove this theory correct works for Reuters, which sent out a story that claimed George Bush thought that Nelson Mandela had died, when in fact Bush used an analogy that clearly sailed over Reuters' head. It also showed that some progressive bloggers don't do much research when jumping all over a news quote: (via Memeorandum, Instapundit, and Best of the Web) Nelson Mandela is still very much alive despite an embarrassing gaffe by U.S. President George W. Bush, who alluded to the former South African leader's death in an attempt to explain sectarian violence in Iraq. "It's out there. All we can do is reassure people, especially South Africans, that President Mandela is alive," Achmat Dangor, chief executive...

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

Blackwater May Be In Hotter Water

Blackwater Security has returned to its work for the US military and State Department in Iraq after Baghdad threatened to expel them after a deadly shooting. They may find themselves with a bigger problem, however, as the Department of Justice has begun an investigation into an alleged arms smuggling ring that put weapons in the hands of the PKK, an organization listed as a terrorist group by the same State Department that they protect: Federal prosecutors are investigating whether employees of the private security firm Blackwater USA illegally smuggled into Iraq weapons that may have been sold on the black market and ended up in the hands of a U.S.-designated terrorist organization, officials said Friday. The U.S. Attorney's Office in Raleigh, N.C., is handling the investigation with help from Pentagon and State Department auditors, who have concluded there is enough evidence to file charges, the officials told The Associated Press....

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

September 22, 2007

Celebrity Endorsements, Political Contributions, And Hsu

The fallout continues from the exposure of Norman Hsu as a world-class con man. A Laguna Beach investment firm filed a lawsuit against the Democratic Party fundraiser for defrauding investors of $23 million, which apparently makes them Victim #3 in the FBI's complaint against Hsu. Given the description of the suit in the Mercury News, Briar Wood Investments may add some celebrities and politicians as codefendants: A Laguna Beach investment firm filed a lawsuit against Democratic fundraiser Norman Hsu on Friday, claiming he defrauded investors out of at least $23 million and required them to donate to Democratic candidates. According to the lawsuit filed by Briar Wood Investments, Hsu persuaded the company's operator to do business with him by taking him to star-studded Democratic Party events. There, the 56-year-old Hong Kong native was praised by New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, California Atty. Gen. Jerry Brown and others, the lawsuit...

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

It ... Is ... Alive!

All of those Fidel Castro death pools will go unpaid, at least for now. The Cuban dictator appeared in a taped interview on state-run television, looking frail but clearly alert: Fidel Castro appeared on Cuban television for the first time in three months since he underwent intestinal surgery in July. In a taped interview, Mr Castro, 81, looked frail but alert and laughed off speculation that he was on his death bed after a long absence from public view. "They say 'I was dying' and 'if I die' and 'I will die the day after tomorrow' or something," he said in the interview. The news will disappoint some who had hoped that Cuba could liberate itself after Fidel's death. The Cuban ex-patriate community had heard rumors of Castro's room-temperature status for weeks, but they turned out to be false. Instead, the dictator laughed at the speculation, having beaten the odds,...

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

Will Criticizing Republicans Help Romney?

In the primaries, the best strategies are those which encourage voters to engage on the widest scale. That usually involved optimism and an argument why one's party offers the best opportunity for success. Mitt Romney has decided to take a different tack -- and while it may not be what Republicans want to hear, it may also be what Republicans need to hear: Republican Mitt Romney bluntly challenged his own party to "put our own house in order" as John McCain and Rudy Giuliani assailed Democratic rivals while courting activists in a state that's now a player in the nomination march. "Washington is failing us," Romney, the former Massachusetts governor, said in remarks prepared for delivery Saturday, part of an effort to cast himself as an agent of change. "The blame doesn't all belong to the Democrats. We Republicans have to put our own house in order." ... In an...

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

'Why Didn't They Go Get Him?'

Another Norman Hsu story escaped my attention last night, but it's interesting enough to add as an additional post rather than update my earlier post on the subject. The San Mateo Superior Court apparently learned a lesson from Hsu's hotfoot to Colorado, holding him this time without bail. Meanwhile, his attorney wondered aloud why California never sought Hsu even though he operated in plain sight of California elected officials -- and may have inadvertently answered his own question: Fallen Democratic fundraiser Norman Hsu was ordered held without bail Friday, and his attorney accused the FBI of extracting a confession while the convicted swindler was recovering from an apparent suicide attempt. Hsu appeared briefly in San Mateo Superior Court on a 15-year-old grand theft conviction, one day after federal authorities charged him in New York with bilking investors out of $60 million. Investigators say he donated some of that money to...

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

Dan Rather's Colleagues Must Be Part Of The Conspiracy

Dan Rather's lawsuit at CBS achieved its first purpose; it's put Dan Rather back in the spotlight. After having disappeared into the black hole of HDNet, Rather once again has become noteworthy enough to get an invitation on Larry King Live and the rest of the talkshows. However, if he had hoped to resurrect his reputation with the lawsuit, his colleagues have not been impressed (via QandO): Rather’s former colleagues at CBS have something to say. Take, for example, Don Hewitt, the legendary producer of “60 Minutes.” “Any news organization, print or broadcast, has the right to protect its reputation by divesting itself of a reporter, irrespective of who he or she is, who it feels reported as fact something that reflected his or her biases more than the facts bear,” he said in a NEWSWEEK interview. “And if the reporter’s defense is that he or she had been ‘had,’...

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

Pope Benedict Exposes Islamic Extremism

Poep Benedict XVI has returned to the traditional role of defender of the faith yesterday by challenging the inflexibility of Islam, which will not set well with Muslims. He demanded the end of second-class status for Christians in Muslim nations, and also insisted that Muslims have the legitimate right to convert to Christianity without fear of execution: Benedict XVI attacked Muslim nations where Christians are either persecuted or given the status of second-class citizens under the Shariah Islamic law. He also defended the rights of Muslims to convert to Christianity, an act which warrants the death penalty in many Islamic countries. His comments came almost exactly a year after he provoked a wave of anger among Muslims by quoting a Byzantine emperor who linked Islam to violence. Yesterday, near Rome, the 80-year-old pontiff made a speech in "defence of religious liberty", which, he said "is a fundamental, irrepressible, inalienable and...

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

Nutpicking Penalizes Free Commenting

It's not often I agree with Steve Benen, but he makes a good point about trawling through comments sections of blogs of any stripe in order to cast aspersions on the blogger. It gets worse when political candidates do it to discredit opponents, the context in which Benen discusses it here: For quite a while, conservatives have embraced an annoying strategy -- trawl through liberal comments sections in the hopes of finding intemperate remarks. The right then takes these comments to "prove" that the left is made up of unhinged radicals. The practice has always been rather self-defeating. In fact, about a year ago, Kevin Drum came up with a sensible maxim: "If you're forced to rely on random blog commenters to make a point about the prevalence of some form or another of disagreeable behavior, you've pretty much made exactly the opposite point." Eventually, the practice was even given...

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

September 23, 2007

That Glow On The Syrian Horizon

Israel captured nuclear material in a daring raid on a joint facility operated by Syria and North Korea before bombing it into oblivion, the Times of London reports today. Tests indicate that the nuclear material originated in North Korean facilities. It indicates that the "Axis of Evil" still works together for proliferation and other mischief: Israeli commandos seized nuclear material of North Korean origin during a daring raid on a secret military site in Syria before Israel bombed it this month, according to informed sources in Washington and Jerusalem. The attack was launched with American approval on September 6 after Washington was shown evidence the material was nuclear related, the well-placed sources say. They confirmed that samples taken from Syria for testing had been identified as North Korean. This raised fears that Syria might have joined North Korea and Iran in seeking to acquire nuclear weapons. Israeli special forces had...

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

UN To Return To Iraq, Security Much Improved

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon believes the security situation in Iraq has improved "a lot", and as a result, the UN will broaden its efforts throughout the country. After getting chased out of Iraq in 2003 when it chose its security personnel poorly and had its facility bombed, the UN has not done much to support Iraq or its elected government, but Nouri al-Maliki says he can guarantee their security: Mr Ban described the talks, which he co-chaired with Mr Maliki, as "positive and supportive". Mr Ban said: "There was a clear agreement that the international community cannot turn away from, or ignore Iraq. Its stability is our common concern." BBC diplomatic correspondent Jonathan Marcus says Mr Ban's tone was emphatic - the time for collective action had come. The secretary general said there would be a new "regional support office" in Baghdad to foster dialogue between involved countries and an...

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

NYT Discounted MoveOn Ad, Broke Its Own Rules

After a slew of denials by apologists for the New York Times, the paper itself acknowledged that it gave MoveOn a discount for its full-page "Betray Us" ad. The standby rate which the Times charged MoveOn applies to ads where the run date is not fixed -- and the ad specifically got sold for the Monday when General David Petraeus made his first Congressional appearance: The old gray lady has some explaining to do. Officials at the New York Times have admitted a liberal activist group was permitted to pay half the rate it should have for a provocative ad condemning U.S. Iraq commander Gen. David Petraeus. The MoveOn ad, which cast Petraeus as "General Betray Us" and attacked his truthfulness, ran on the same day the commander made a highly anticipated appearance before Congress. But since the liberal group paid the standby rate of $64,575 for the full-page ad,...

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

Why The NYT Ad Issue Matters

In response to the revelation that the New York Times discounted 60% off of purchase price for the MoveOn ad that attacked General David Petraeus as a traitor, some have argued that the Times can do anything it wants with its paper. These commenters and bloggers have "moved on" from the argument that MoveOn didn't get a discount at all to a contradictory position that the Times can discount whenever and to whomever they desire. Normally, I would agree. The Times has a responsibility to its shareholders to make profitable decisions, but the shareholders need to demand accountability for leaving almost $80,000 on the table in this deal. The Times also has a First Amendment right to its political speech and to free association -- although we certainly also have the First Amendment right to criticize their speech and their associations. However, the Times has been particularly active in demanding...

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

Moving Back To The Twin Cities Offices

My two-week visit to my West Coast offices have come to an end, and I'm moving the operation back to the Twin Cities in time for business tomorrow. It will be a busy week; at Heading Right Radio tomorrow, I'll have Governor Mike Huckabee on a recorded interview and Rep. Tom Cole from the NRCC live. The show will air at the special time of 1 pm CT, one hour earlier than usual, so be sure to adjust your schedules! Speaking of which, I've finally gotten the correct URL for the iTunes subscription. You can now find that here: We had a great time visiting with good friends like Hugh Hewitt, Duane Patterson, NZ Bear, and everyone at Investors Business Daily. I had a great visit with Pajamas Media, and they have a video interview of me which will be released soon at their website. Next time, we'll leave some...

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

He's Cute, He's Coy, He's My Cuddly Toy

Perhaps the invitation by Columbia University to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to speak during his UN visit may do some good. Already it has had a clarifying effect on the sufferers of Bush Derangement Syndrome. Kos diarist Sallykohn, a Jewish lesbian who acknowledges that she'd be among the first to have a brick wall dropped on her in Iran, confesses to a crush on the diminutive Mahmoud -- because he's so much better than George Bush: I want to be very clear. There are certainly many things about Ahmadinejad that I abhor — locking up dissidents, executing of gay folks, denying the fact of the Holocaust, potentially adding another dangerous nuclear power to the world and, in general, stifling democracy. Even still, I can’t help but be turned on by his frank rhetoric calling out the horrors of the Bush Administration and, for that matter, generations of US foreign policy preceding. She...

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

September 24, 2007

I Didn't Realize The Sanctions Had That Much Bite

Spam has become an unfortunate part of life for anyone with e-mail, and all of us spend at least a few minutes each day tweaking our filters to keep it out of our inboxes. Every once in a while, something new and unusual comes along that almost makes it worthwhile when it sneaks past all of the traps. This morning, for instance, I received a note that purported to be from the Internal Revenue Service: Notification of Tax Refund on your VISA or MasterCard Now, After the last annual calculations of your fiscal activity we have determined that you are eligible to receive a tax refund of $209.30. A refund can be delayed for a variety of reasons. Fox example submitting invalid records or applying after the deadline. ... Deliberate wrong inputs are criminally pursued and indicated. You have to love the really sophisticated spammers that can't manage to write...

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

Pervez' Pervasive Problems

Today brings lots of news from Pakistan, and almost all of it bad. Pervez Musharraf has cleared a legal hurdle for his election bid, but he has thrown political opponents of all stripes in jail to prepare for it. American intel sources tell the Los Angeles Times that he has backed away from pursuing al-Qaeda after Osama bin Laden's declaration of war against him, as he realizes that Osama's popularity outstrips his own in Pakistan: Political turmoil and a spate of brazen attacks by Taliban fighters are forcing Pakistan's president to scale back his government's pursuit of Al Qaeda, according to U.S. intelligence officials who fear that the terrorist network will be able to accelerate its efforts to rebuild and plot new attacks. The development threatens a pillar of U.S. counter-terrorism strategy, which has depended on Pakistan to play a lead role in keeping Al Qaeda under pressure to reduce...

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

Iran Applies Pressure To Free Quds Officer

Iran has started to close its border with the Kurdish region of Iraq in response to the arrest of an Iranian official in Sulaimaniyah last week. The US insists that the detainee belongs to the Quds Force, the terrorist elite of Iran's Revolutionary Guard, and had facilitated the smuggling of Iranian weapons to insurgents and terrorists within Iraq. The Iraqis have protested the arrest as well as the border closure: Iran closed major border crossings with northern Iraq on Monday to protest the U.S. detention of an Iranian official the military accused of weapons smuggling, a Kurdish official said. At least four border gates have been closed and one remains open, the governor of the Kurdish province of Sulaimaniyah, Dana Ahmed Majeed, told The Associated Press. The move threatens the economy of Iraq's northern region — one of the country's few success stories. In Tehran, the public relations department in...

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

Syria Gets An Invitation

The State Department will invite Syria to its upcoming conference on the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, along with Saudi Arabia. According to Condoleezza Rice, the invitations will require that nations take a positive, productive attitude which includes acknowledging the right for both Israel and the proposed state of Palestine to exist. The Arab states want an equally provocative prerequisite as well: The United States intends to invite Saudi Arabia, Syria and other Arab countries that do not have relations with Israel to a Middle East peace conference that will be held in the United States this fall, a senior State Department official said Sunday. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, noting that invitations have not yet been issued, seemed to put some conditions on attendance later Sunday. "Coming to this meeting also brings certain responsibilities," which includes renouncing violence and supporting the right of both Israel and Palestine to exist, she said....

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

How S-CHIP Does More Damage Than Good

The Heritage Foundation takes a look at that the controversial expansion of the S-CHIP program, and concludes that it will result in less coverage for poor and middle-class children. Expanding the insurance pool to cover children of working-class and middle-class families will disrupt cost containment from private insurance, and will crowd out better coverage. Not only does the expanded pool get less coverage, but it also increases the per-child cost by almost 80%. At Heading Right, I ask why we're looking at an entitlement expansion in a period where we're facing an entitlement-spending crisis. Even the CBO acknowledges that the S-CHIP expansion crowds out better private insurance coverage, an effect that increases as the expansion gets wider. And why do we feel the need to subsidize health care coverage for families making in excess of $80,000? Could this be just a stalking-horse for government-run health care?...

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

Rather A Laughingstock

Dan Rather's lawsuit has certainly brought about a change in his fortunes. He has managed to get his colleagues in the news media to shift their opinion about him almost overnight. Once regarded as a respected journalist who just got one story wrong and refused to admit it, the lawsuit has generated an outright antagonism among journalists that never existed before. Charles Lane of the Washington Post's editorial page staff writes a hilarious and pointed attack on Rather's vanished credibility by declaring the lawsuit a "fake": I have obtained new documentary evidence regarding Dan Rather's relationship with his former bosses at CBS News. Obviously, I cannot identify my source. But he told me during a collect call from Sofia, Bulgaria, that he has access to Rather's "personal files" and that his typewriter was built after 1966. To authenticate the document, I showed it to some of my kids' friends, and...

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

Heading Right Radio: Governor Mike Huckabee, NRCC's Tom Cole (UPDATE: Huckabee On Ahmadinejad)

UPDATE: Huckabee on Ahmadinejad in the upcoming interview: "I cannot believe Columbia University would host this terrorist and financier of terror .... This guy is an international criminal and sponsor of terrorism." Also, don't miss what he has to say about Katrina and the government response -- coming up at 1 pm CT! Today on Heading Right Radio (Note special time: 1 pm CT), we have two great guests for HRR listeners. First, we have Tom Cole of the National Republican Congressional Campaign, who will launch the final voting for the Your Direction contest. We'll also talk about the Rediscover Your Party series, the Iraq War, and the upcoming battles on appropriations. Afterwards, I'll broadcast an interview I recorded this morning with Presidential candidate and former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee. Governor Huckabee will talk about his Vertical Day effort, get his thoughts on Iran and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the MoveOn ad,...

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

Bollinger Tries To Butch Up After Providing Forum To Ahmadinejad

Lee Bollinger has brought disgrace to Columbia University by inviting a theocratic despot to speak at their campus while his government actively tries to, and sometimes succeeds at, killing American servicemen in Iraq. The president of Columbia, having heard the criticisms of Americans across the country for giving a Holocaust denier and radical Islamist supporter of terrorism an Ivy League platform, decided to act tough by scolding Ahmadinejad in his introduction: Mr. Bollinger was applauded loudly when he took the podium after a brief introduction. He began by defending the university's decision to summon President Ahmadinejad. "This is the right thing to do," Mr. Bollinger said, adding that he was sorry if the event hurt some people's sentiments. Mr. Bollinger called Mr. Ahmadinejad's comments on the Holocaust "astonishingly uneducated" and characterized him as a "petty and cruel dictator." Mr. Ahmadinejad was scheduled to speak for about 30 minutes. He began...

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

Bollinger Sure Enlightened The Iranians

Want to see how effective Lee Bollinger's supposed plan to expose Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as a "petty and cruel dictator" went? The Iranian state news agency reported on Ahmadinejad's speech -- and they apparently never heard of Lee Bollinger (via CapQ commenter Bennett): Despite entire US media objections, negative propagation and hue and cry in recent days over IRI President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's scheduled address at Colombia University, he gave his lecture and answered students questions here on Monday afternoon. On second day of his entry in New York, and amid standing ovation of the audience that had attended the hall where the Iranian President was to give his lecture as of early hours of the day, Ahmadinejad said that Iran is not going to attack any country in the world. Before President Ahamadinejad's address, Colombia University Chancellor in a brief address told the audience that they would have the chance to...

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

Hillary Against The Free Press

Both Hillary Clinton and GQ have a lot of explaining to do if the Politico has this story correct According to Ben Smith, Hillary's campaign pressured GQ to kill a piece critical of her by threatening to withhold Bill Clinton's cooperation in the future. The editors of GQ caved into the threat and spiked the article: Early this summer, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton’s campaign for president learned that the men’s magazine GQ was working on a story the campaign was sure to hate: an account of infighting in Hillaryland. So Clinton’s aides pulled a page from the book of Hollywood publicists and offered GQ a stark choice: Kill the piece, or lose access to planned celebrity coverboy Bill Clinton. Despite internal protests, GQ editor Jim Nelson met the Clinton campaign’s demands, which had been delivered by Bill Clinton’s spokesman, Jay Carson, several sources familiar with the conversations said. Instead of...

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

September 25, 2007

A Little Smarter Than People Think

Nouri al-Maliki has managed to ride out some strong political storms in his tenure as Prime Minister, and it hasn't been luck that saw him through them. Even when Sunni and Shi'ite Cabinet members walked off the job and his parliamentary coalition hung by a thread, Maliki has managed to operate from strength, and his new coalition appears to have shed the extremists: Nearly two months after Sunni Arab ministers walked, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki appears to have weathered a political crisis that once threatened to bring down his government Using a mix of brinkmanship, political cunning and strong U.S. support, the Shiite leader now appears to have seized the political initiative from his opponents. ... Six Sunni Arab ministers quit al-Maliki's government in early August over his failure to meet demands that included the release of security detainees not charged with specific crimes, disbanding militias and wider inclusion in...

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

'Betray Us' Bombed: Rasmussen

The MoveOn ad that accused General David Petraeus of possibly traitorous testimony before he even began speaking has alienated the majority of American voters -- and even a plurality among MoveOn's allies believed it harnful to their cause. A new Rasmussen poll shows that 58% of those polled disapprove of the accusatory ad in the New York Times, while only a paltry 23% approve (via Memeorandum): Twenty-three percent (23%) of Americans approve of an ad run in the New York Times “that referred to General Petraeus as General Betray Us.” A Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey found that 58% disapproved. Those figures include 12% who Strongly Approve and 42% who Strongly Disapprove. Self-identified liberals were evenly divided—45% approve and 39% disapprove. However, only 19% of moderate voters approve while 62% disapprove. Forty-seven percent (47%) of all adults say that “stunts like the MoveOn.org ad” hurt the cause they believe in....

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

Bush To Address UN On Myanmar

President Bush will speak to the UN General Assembly this morning at 9:45 ET -- and will focus his remarks on an issue that has drifted off the radar screen. He will highlight the human-rights abuses in Myanmar as Buddhist monks make their strongest protest yet against the ruling military junta (via Michelle Malkin): President Bush will address the U.N. General Assembly this morning at 9:45 a.m. EDT. Bush wants the U.N. to uphold its pledge to fight for freedom in lands of poverty and terror, and plans to punctuate his challenge by promising new sanctions against the military regime in Myanmar. Bush is expected to mention Iran in his speech—but only briefly, citing Iran in a list of countries where people lack freedoms and live in fear. The White House wants to avoid giving any more attention to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, whose splash of speeches and interviews has...

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

Bush's State Of The Global Union Speech

George Bush just finished delivering his speech at the UN General Assembly, which I live-blogged at Heading Right. The President acquitted himself well on the world stage, speaking on a broad range of topics, to general approbation. However, he missed an opportunity to emphasize a narrower set of national priorities, and in the end gave what sounded like a State of the Union speech. As expected, he spent more time on Myanmar than any other topic. He repeatedly and pointedly called the nation Burma, its former name prior to the military coup. Bush timed the attention to coincide with the most extensive protests against the junta yet seen, and challenged the General Assembly to take steps to support the democracy activists. Bush scored points by tying Burma/Myanmar to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the UN's failure to pursue it in other places. He singled out Lebanon, Syria, and...

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

Bringing The Power Of The Internet To Earmark Research

The Sunlight Foundation has launched its new site designed to root out pork-barrel spending and hold lawmakers accountable for their earmarking. Earmark Watch does much more than just list earmarks -- it gives users the power to do their own research and report earmarks. The system also allows users to comment on earmarks in order to get more information into the hands of its visitors. It provides a handy tool for searching through the database. For instance, I did a search on all earmarks in the House Defense appropriation currently wending its way to the floor to find all Minnesota earmarks. The system reports 11 earmarks, totalling over $26 million, that will be spent in our state. Almost a quarter of that comes from two earmarks to Phygen, which requires $3 million each on plasma sterilizers and ultra-endurance coating. Looking at Open Secrets, Phygen doesn't contribute to any of the...

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

Republicans Making A Mistake In Avoiding PBS Debate

J.C. Watts has wisdom for the Republican presidential candidates that they have not yet incorporated into their campaigns, to the party's detriment. Watts and Newt Gingrich both scold the GOP frontrunners for declining an invitation to the PBS debate at a historically black college in Baltimore: A former member of the House Republican congressional leadership -- and the last African-American to serve as a member of the GOP in Congress -- harshly criticized Tuesday the decision of the Republican presidential front-runners to not attend a debate focused on minority issues. "I think the best that comes out of stupid decisions like this," said former Oklahoma Rep. J.C. Watts, is "that African-Americans might say is, 'Was it because of my skin color?' Now, maybe it wasn't, but African-Americans do say, 'It crossed my mind.'" All four GOP presidential front-runners -- former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., former...

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

Would A Columbia Appearance Have Avoided WWII?

One of the sillier defenses of yesterday's appearance by Mahmoud Ahmadinejad at Columbia University came from the man who initiated the Ahmadinejad speech. Over the weekend, John Coatsworth, acting dean of Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs, suggested that had Columbia invited Adolf Hitler to Columbia in 1939, he would not have underestimated the will of the American people and would have avoided declaring war on the US. Bret Stephens addresses this in today's OpinionJournal: Let's assume, however, that Hitler had used the occasion of his speech not just to dissimulate but to really air his mind, to give vent not just to Germany's historical grievances but to his own apocalyptic ambitions. In "Terror and Liberalism" (2003), Columbia alumnus Paul Berman observes the way in which prewar French socialists--keenly aware and totally opposed to Hitler's platform--nonetheless took the view that Germany had to be accommodated and that the...

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

Promoting BTR At PJM

Roger Simon took a few minutes last week to interview me at Pajamas Media headquarters, and we talked about how easily people can become their own hosts at BlogTalkRadio. We also talked about PJM's new gig at XM Radio, in which we will participate, indirectly at first. The PJM media department did a nice job with this video -- and it was a pleasure meeting the PJM staff on my West Coast tour....

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

Heading Right Radio: Bill Allison, Jim Geraghty

Today on Heading Right Radio (2 pm CT), Bill Allison will explain the new Earmark Watch website. It's a great way to harness the power of the Internet to investigate where our money goes. We'll walk through a couple of earmarks and take your calls for more exploration. In the second half of the show, NRO's Jim Geraghty joins me to talk about the Republican refusal to engage in the PBS debate. I think the Republican candidates should do some party-building and engaging black voters. What do you think? Call 646-652-4889 to join the conversation! And don't forget to join our chat room, too! UPDATE: I'll also appear on Rick Moran's BlogTalkRadio show today at 3:00 pm CT. You can join us there as well at (718) 664-9764. Did you know that you can listen to Heading Right Radio through your TiVo service? Click here for the instructions. Also,...

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

Does Europe Oppose An American Withdrawal?

The think tank Atlantic Community asked leading European policy analysts whether an American withdrawal from Iraq would be the best policy going forward. To AC's surprise, they almost unanimously consider a withdrawal dangerous and a prelude to disaster: While the American public and policy debate revolves largely around exit strategies and “redeployment,” there is apparent consensus among European policy analysts that American troops should remain in Iraq for the foreseeable future. In contrast to both European media opinion and the prevailing views of American liberals, our respondents supported sustained troop levels. Many consider the announcement of a timetable for withdrawal to be counter-productive and even outright dangerous, saying that lack of American involvement would drive Iraq into further chaos. Many of those interviewed focused on military strategy as a means to political reconstruction in Iraq, rather than an end in itself. “Winning” and “losing” the war, a theme in the...

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

September 26, 2007

Did NPR Spike Juan Williams' Interview With The President?

The National Black Republican Association has sent an e-mail out claiming that NPR has spiked an interview with George Bush. According to Chairman Francis Rice, the publicly-funded broadcaster has decided that it will not publish Juan Williams' lengthy dialogue with the President. Instead, the NBRA has received the transcript of the interview from the White House and has sent it out in its totality via e-mail. I believe I've seen a glimpse of these responses elsewhere, but the interview does not appear on NPR's website. I've tried Googling portions of this transcript, and it doesn't seem to have been published anywhere. It's not clear why NPR would have an issue with the interview. It's possible that they just didn't consider it newsworthy, but that would seem very odd, especially given their high-profile connection to Williams and the remarks Bush makes to Williams on controversial topics such as the Jena 6....

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

Myanmar Military Shoot Protestors

The military junta in Myanmar has begun shooting the monks whose protests have filled the streets for over a week. According to a French diplomat, bodies and blood can be seen on the ground, but it still has not stopped the demonstrations: The Myanmar military opened fire on crowds of protesters in Yangon, almost certainly causing casualties, a French diplomat in the city said Wednesday. "Shots were fired by the security forces, first in the air, then at the demonstrators. We cannot know if many people were injured but we can be sure that blood was spilled," Emmanuel Mouriez, number two at the French embassy, told French radio RTL. "We have several witness accounts describing people lying on the ground," he added. The counteroffensive started with teargas and cracking heads. When that and a few dozen arrests did nothing, police started firing warning shots above the protestors' heads. That also...

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

John Kline Reports

Rep. John Kline, former Marine colonel, returned to Washington DC after his fifth trip to Iraq, and he reports on the progress made by General David Petraeus. Kline represents Minnesota's Second District, where I live, and has a sterling reputation for honesty and integrity. He reports that the change in the security situation in Anbar is "amazing", and says the troop levels of the surge have not been the only factor in the transformation: Kline, who has been a supporter of President Bush's Iraq policy, said he was particularly impressed with the improved security in the Anbar province capital of Ramadi. "The security situation there is just truly amazing. Just amazing," he said in a telephone interview. Kline said the Marine battalion commander there told the lawmakers that violence is way down. ... Kline, a retired Marine, said he thought the surge of U.S. troops helped, but wasn't the deciding...

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

NPR Really Did Refuse The Interview

As difficult as it is to believe, public broadcaster NPR turned down an interview between George Bush and Juan Williams -- Bush's first to focus on race relations -- because the White House invited Williams to conduct it. Earlier this morning, I posted the transcript of the entire interview after the NBRA sent it out by e-mail, with Williams' blessing. The Washington Post reports on NPR's curious decision, and Williams' reaction: The White House reached out to National Public Radio over the weekend, offering analyst Juan Williams a presidential interview to mark yesterday's 50th anniversary of school desegregation in Little Rock. But NPR turned down the interview, and Williams's talk with Bush wound up in a very different media venue: Fox News. Williams said yesterday he was "stunned" by NPR's decision. "It makes no sense to me. President Bush has never given an interview in which he focused on race....

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

Taliban Loss Ratio Worsens To 165:1

The Taliban launched two large-scale ambushes on Afghan and NATO forces in Helmand and Uruzgan provinces this week. Mullah Omar may have wanted to see his metrics improve from the 100-1 loss ratio in Kandahar last month. Well, those numbers certainly changed -- from humiliating to catastrophic: Two battles killed more than 165 Taliban fighters and a U.S.-led coalition soldier in southern Afghanistan on Wednesday as President Hamid Karzai prepared to discuss the escalating violence with President Bush in New York. One of the clashes began Tuesday when several dozen insurgents attacked a joint coalition-Afghan patrol with machine guns, mortars and rocket-propelled grenades near the Taliban-controlled town of Musa Qala in Helmand province, with Taliban reinforcements flowing in all day, a coalition statement said. The coalition returned artillery fire and called in fighter aircraft, killing more than 100 of the Taliban fighters, the coalition said. One coalition soldier was killed...

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

Hsu's Strings Tied To Hillary

If Hillary Clinton had hoped that the Norman Hsu story would start to fade, she will find disappointment in an unlikely place this morning. The Boston Globe reports that Hsu's seemingly odd and disjointed list of benefactors had something in common -- most of them endorsed and supported Hillary (via Instapundit): Disgraced fund-raiser Norman Hsu did a lot more than just pump $850,000 into Hillary Clinton's campaign bank account: He also raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for local, state, and federal candidates who have endorsed Clinton or whose support she courted. A major fund-raiser for Democrats since 2003, Hsu became one of Clinton's biggest bundlers - gathering scores of individual checks and sending them to her campaign. But since revelations last month that Hsu was a fugitive in a 15-year-old California fraud case, Clinton has said she would return the $850,000 she has taken from him and his associates....

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

Democratic Fade On Ethics Slowly Gaining Notice

The Trojan Horse ethics bill that the Senate Democrats have offered has slowly started to gain the attention of the mainstream news media. Yesterday, ABC joined the party as the Blotter noticed that the public disclosure of earmarking has gone MIA from the Democrats' latest version of the bill (via CapQ reader Stoo): When no one was looking, someone cut a hole out of the Democrats' much-hyped ethics bill. A watchdog group which caught it suspects the Democrats of undermining their own effort to clean up Capitol Hill. Dubbed "the biggest reform effort in a generation" by its sponsor, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., the Legislative Transparency and Accountability Act of 2007 represented the Democrats' plan "to change the way Washington works." ... The victim of the edit: a section that would boost public disclosure of earmarking. As it was approved by the Senate, the 2007 ethics bill required...

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

Harry Potter And The Challenge Document

A guest editorial in Roll Call proposes a new mechanism in diplomacy that evokes the idealism of Woodrow Wilson, along with a healthy dose of his naiveté. John Connolly, the Executive Director of the Institute for Public Dialogue, wants nations to establish a series of white papers in order to conduct public diplomacy, especially when traditional diplomacy has failed. Called "challenge documents", these position papers would somehow transcend national interests and bring a new era of peaceful resolution to real conflict. The idea has a certain charm, but one that runs threadbare by the end of the proposal. At Heading Right, I point out that an attempt to use Harry Potter as an argument doesn't build much credibility. Like so many other earnest but essentially naive proposals, it fails to consider the very real differences between free societies and oppressive governments in how information gets disseminated. There is a reason...

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

Would Hillary Choose Obama For Veep?

Roger Simon at the Politico says no, but goes through a lot of reasons why Hillary Clinton might select Barack Obama as her running mate once she wins the nomination. Simon mentions the need for unity after a fractious primary, Obama's draw among black voters, and his organizational skills. Simon waits until the concluding paragraphs to give what he sees as the countervailing argument (via Memeorandum): So why wouldn’t Hillary put Obama on the ticket? There are two unbreakable rules for picking a running mate: Never pick anybody who might overshadow the top of the ticket, and never pick anybody you cannot completely control. So Obama might be eliminated on both counts. Then there is the Rule of Firsts. The Clinton campaign does not want to force too many “firsts” on the American electorate. Electing the first woman president will be challenge enough. Electing the first woman president and first...

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

Heading Right Radio: NRSC's John Randall, Matt Lewis, S-CHIP

Today on Heading Right Radio (2 pm CT), we will talk with John Randall of the NRSC, who will talk about their new efforts for the 2008 cycle, as well as some of the legislative priorities for this session. Matt Lewis will discuss tomorrow's Solutions Day event with Newt Gingrich, and the Heritage Foundation's Greg DiAngelo will talk about the S-CHIP controversy. Call 646-652-4889 to join the conversation! And don't forget to join our chat room! Did you know that you can listen to Heading Right Radio through your TiVo service? Click here for the instructions. Also, you can subscribe to Heading Right Radio through iTunes now by clicking this link:...

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

The Dichotomy Of Me

Earlier this summer, my good friend William Kent Krueger released his latest novel, Thunder Bay, the fourth in his Cork O'Connor series. Two years ago, Kent auctioned off one of the character names for a fundraising effort for Twin Cities Marriage Encounter, and I won the bid. He asked me what kind of character I wanted to be, and I told him "really evil". The Rake, a local literary magazine, found this intriguing. A few weeks ago, Max Ross interviewed me about this choice, and his article has now hit the newsstands. Max wonders why people seem willing to pay to be characters in novels, especially villains and victims: Aside from the fact that both Morrisseys populate unreal realms—one, the dramatized version of Thunder Bay, Canada; the other, the blogosphere—there is really no similarity at all between them. The real one, whom Krueger describes as “a teddy bear of a...

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

Solutions Day: Ask Your Questions Of Newt Gingrich

Tomorrow I will fly to Atlanta to attend Solutions Day, the event hosted by Newt Gingrich's American Solutions organization. I'll blog live from the launch that evening, and I will get a chance to interview Newt Gingrich earlier in the day. The recorded interview will get aired on my Heading Right Radio show on Thursday afternoon. I'm excited to take part in this effort. Many of us bemoan the lack of fresh ideas and approaches in American politics, and events like this challenge us to keep open minds. Newt Gingrich, who has long been one of conservatism's leading intellectuals, seems particularly suited to lead an effort searching for big ideas. Here's the description of the event from American Solutions: American Solutions for Winning the Future is a new, non-partisan organization built around three goals: to defend America and our allies abroad and defeat our enemies, to strengthen and revitalize America’s...

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

September 27, 2007

How Petraeus Moved The Debate, Literally

How far has General David Petraeus moved the debate on Iraq? His testimony on the surge, and the effects of the surge itself, has made it much more difficult for Democrats to argue for withdrawal and defeat. In fact, at last night's debate, the leading contenders for the Democratic nomination couldn't even commit to a withdrawal -- by 2013: The leading Democratic White House hopefuls conceded Wednesday night they cannot guarantee to pull all U.S. combat troops from Iraq by the end of the next presidential term in 2013. "I think it's hard to project four years from now," said Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois in the opening moments of a campaign debate in the nation's first primary state. "It is very difficult to know what we're going to be inheriting," added Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York. "I cannot make that commitment," said former Sen. John Edwards of...

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

The Jurors Of La-La Land

Let's take a scenario that could come from a badly-written murder mystery. A man with a history of threatening women with handguns walks out of his house, blood on his clothes, holding a gun, and tells his driver, "I think I may have killed someone." Inside the house, the body of a woman the man just met at a nightclub lies slumped in a chair, dead from a gunshot wound to the mouth. When police arrive, the gun somehow has ended up under the dead woman's ankle, and the man tells the investigators that the woman grew despondent and killed herself -- with his gun, despite never having been in the house before. Think it takes Sherlock Holmes to solve that mystery? It does if the killing takes place in Los Angeles and involves a celebrity: The murder trial of Phil Spector ended today with the jury unable to decide...

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

Do China And India Hold The Key?

Both the US and UK plan on applying tough sanctions against the military junta running Burma (Myanmar), increasing the economic pressure on the regime in support of the protestors filling the streets. However, the West has had sanctions of varying strength against the junta for years, and it has not yet weakened their grip on power. Bronwen Maddox argues in the Times of London that Burma's two neighbors have to take action before any change can occur: Burma will be a test of whether the heat of world attention can burn through the shield around a country which its leaders have gone to such lengths to isolate. The call for more sanctions from Gordon Brown and George Bush means little. Britain and the US long ago imposed what they could on arms and trade. The effect of sanctions on a regime that does not care about its people’s wellbeing, let...

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

Take From The Poor, Give To The Middle Class

Investors Business Daily looks at the S-CHIP expansion and recognizes the political dangers for Republicans opposing it. Any vote against expanding health insurance coverage to children will prompt critics to paint the GOP as the party of Fagins, taking medical attention away from poor sick kids. However, in this case, the kids aren't poor, although that's where the funding will originate: As passed by the House, the State Children's Health Insurance Program, known as SCHIP, will create a major new middle-class entitlement even as we face looming national bankruptcy from our $50.5 trillion (yes, you read that number right) in planned spending under Social Security and Medicare. Today, some 6.6 million kids are covered under SCHIP, at a cost of about $25 billion over five years. The new bill raises that to 9 million kids covered, at a cost of $60 billion. It pays for it with a 61-cent hike...

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

Kerrey No Hsu-In

The Norman Hsu scandal has affected more than just the Democratic presidential primaries. The Politico reports that Nebraska Republicans have already started talking about Bob Kerrey's connections to the con man turned Democratic fundraiser, just in case Kerrey decides to run for Chuck Hagel's open seat in 2008: If former Nebraska Sen. Bob Kerrey decides to run for the Senate, it’s clear that he will have to address his connections with Hsu, whom he recruited to serve on the board of the New School under his presidency. The Hsu affair already is being used by Republicans as leverage to try to ward off a run by Kerrey, the Democrats’ favored candidate to compete for the seat of retiring Republican Sen. Chuck Hagel. Republicans privately acknowledge that Kerrey is a first-tier candidate and hope their attacks dissuade him from jumping in. They would have an easier time retaining the seat if...

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

Quotes From Upcoming Newt Gingrich Interview

I've finished the interview with Newt Gingrich, and you won't want to miss this show. I'll be playing the interview on my Heading Right show at 3 pm CT, and Newt provides his no-holds-barred commentary on current politics. Here are a few quotes to pique your interest: On Republican consultants: "Let me be clear. I think Republican consultants are mostly very stupid. I think they have no education. I think they have no sense of history." On African-American voters: "No group in America has been served worse by government than the African-American community." Also, this: "Other than Huckabee, none of these [Republican] candidates have the gumption to place themselves in the middle of that [African-American] environment ..." On the current crop of candidates: "The most sobering thing about where we are right now is that the most effective candidate in the race is -- Hillary Clinton. ... Her answers are...

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

Live Blogging Hannity

Sean Hannity has joined Newt Gingrich for a portion of the Solutions Day event, and he's prerecording the last hour of his show here in front of a live audience. It's been interesting to watch Sean work the room, live, during his show. Radio tends to be a rather insular pursuit. One does not get a sense of audience while broadcasting, except at live "remotes" like this. Hannity has been well received by this audience, which may indicate that Solutions Day hasn't drawn the bipartisan attendees here for the kickoff that Newt Gingrich wanted. He has drawn a number of reporters, including a couple from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. I met Jim Galloway and Ben Gray from the AJC, which Hannity referred to as the "Atlanta Urinal", which got a laugh from the audience but not the media bench. He seems to enjoy the audience. His reactions to callers seems broad...

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

Heading Right Radio: Newt Gingrich And Solutions Day (Update: Live Press Conference)

Today on Heading Right Radio (2 pm CT), I'll play an interview with Newt Gingrich that I will record this morning. I've just arrived at the Cobb Galleria (10:45 am ET), and we're waiting for a blogger interview with the former Speaker. Originally, each of us was to get one-on-one time with Newt, but his schedule got booked up quickly. Rob Bluey, Matt Lewis, and I will do a round-robin interview in the next few minutes. I'll replay it at the top of the hour, and I may have Rob and Matt join me for the show to discuss the event. UPDATE: I'll go live at first with a press conference including fomer Colorado Governor Roy Romer here at the Cobb Galleria. The interview will follow immediately afterward. Call 646-652-4889 to join the conversation! And don't forget to join our chat room! Did you know that you can listen...

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

Ron Paul Supporters Will Like This

I'm back in the session with Sean Hannity, who is now broadcasting the first two hours of his show live. We're actually in the final hour of the show, and Newt Gingrich has been his guest for most of these two hours. Hannity challenged Gingrich about his kind words for Hillary Clinton this weekend and at other times, saying that Gingrich's graciousness drives some of his listeners up the wall. Gingrich gave a humorous answer for that, noting that out of her ten-page healthcare proposal, there had to be one page that made some sense, and we should encourage common sense when it occurs. Earlier, Sean Hannity noticed a Ron Paul supporter in the back of the room while he was on the air. He was easy to spot; he wore a t-shirt that had RON PAUL in large letters. Sean engaged him in a little banter, and in the...

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

Clarence Thomas: I Was Lynched For Abortion

Matt Drudge has a leak that had to come from CBS about their upcoming interview with Clarence Thomas. Airing on Sunday, the Steve Kroft segment coincides with the publication of Thomas' memoirs, and Thomas doesn't pull punches. In the book he talks about the "lynching" he received during his confirmation hearing, and he says it damaged everyone and set the stage for the impeachment of Bill Clinton (via Bluey's Blog): In his first television interview, in which he discusses his childhood, his race, his rise to Supreme Court Justice and his job on the nation's highest court, Clarence Thomas says the real issue at his controversial confirmation hearings 16 years ago was abortion. Saying the issue was "the elephant in the room," Thomas also tells Steve Kroft that the hearings he called at the time a "high tech lynching" harmed the country. The interview will be broadcast on 60 MINUTES,...

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

Live Blog: Solutions Day Launch

Newt Gingrich will begin speaking at 7 pm CT to officially launch Solutions Day. Rob Bluey and I will live-blog the speech from the media center. The actual ballroom where this speech will take place has filled to capacity. The original room had a capacity for 800 people, and they had to overflow into an adjoining wing. Estimates of the attendance now exceed 1,000. Keep checking back -- and you can webcast this event live from the American Solutions site as well. 6:59 ET - Bipartisanship has officially been seen! Dennis Kucinich's campaign has a booth here, as do Thompson, Rudy, McCain, Huckabee, Romney, and Paul. 7:00 - We can certainly hear the bass in their overture .... 7:04 - The first speaker is Michael Crowley, the Texas Railroad commissioner. He's introducing the concept of Solutions Day. We're getting the audio but not the video in the Media Center, which...

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

Solution Day Video

It's been a long day, but a good one, covering the Solution Day conference. Rob Bluey has video of our interview with Newt Gingrich earlier in the day, along with other highlights of the event. Here's a sample: Robert did a great job with the video on this interview. Be sure to watch all of it....

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

September 28, 2007

Tyrannies And Information Access

Earler this week, the Institute for Public Dialogue proposed a new method for diplomacy called Public Talks. Nations in conflict would put "challenge documents" on the Internet for their populaces to read, and access to both sides would create enough public pressure for both nations to mediate their disputes. As I pointed out at Heading Right, it sounds great -- but since open societies never go to war with each other, their electorates already have access to government positions and much more. Burma today showed why "challenge documents" won't work with tyrannies (via Michelle Malkin): Soldiers in Myanmar pounded down on dissent Friday by swiftly breaking up street gatherings of die-hard activists, occupying key Buddhist monasteries and cutting public Internet access. The moves raised concerns that a crackdown on civilians that has killed at least 10 people this week was set to intensify. Troops fired warning shots in the air...

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

S-CHIP Battle Moves To Vetoland, Population: 3

The Senate passed the expansion of the S-CHIP program yesterday with a veto-proof majority, 67-29, which sets up a standoff between Congress and the White House over the renewal of the politically sensitive program. The Bush administration favored renewing S-CHIP and even expanding it to a small degree, but the large expansion and the cigarette tax it uses has the White House talking veto. If Bush vetoes it, it may set up a standoff between Bush and Republicans looking towards tough re-election fights: The Senate, with an overwhelming bipartisan vote yesterday, sent President Bush a $35 billion expansion of the State Children's Health Insurance Program, setting up the biggest domestic policy clash of his presidency and launching a fight that will reverberate into the 2008 elections. Bush has vowed to veto the measure, but he has faced strong criticism from many fellow Republicans reluctant to turn away from a popular...

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

Why They Call Them Tax Regimes

For those who seek to increase sin taxes as a means of funding social engineering, the experience of Tennessee should give pause. The state passed a large increase in cigarette taxes, creating a large disparity between Tennessee and its neighbor states. Since the people in Tennessee can drive elsewhere to pick up their smokes, the state has decided to do border inspections to charge people for engaging in free-market economics -- and some may not be able to drive to other states at all as a consequence (via Instapundit): Starting today, state Department of Revenue agents will begin stopping Tennessee motorists spotted buying large quantities of cigarettes in border states, then charging them with a crime and, in some cases, seizing their cars. Critics say the new “cigarette surveillance program” amounts to the use of “police state” tactics and wrongfully interferes with interstate commerce. But state Revenue Commissioner Reagan Farr...

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

What Free Speech Means, And What It Doesn't

For a nation birthed on the concept of free speech, we seem to have a very poor understanding of the concept. Jonah Goldberg notices this in his NRO column today, and uses the case of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's visit to Columbia to make the point: But here’s the thing, whether you favored or opposed the teeny dictator’s lecture: Free speech had nothing to do with it. You have to stay on your toes, like Ahmadinejad at a urinal, to grasp this point since it’s so often confused in our public discourse: Free-speech rights aren’t violated when private institutions deny speech in their name. My free-speech rights have not been denied by the fact that for years the Democratic National Committee has refused to invite me to speak at its confabs. Nor would it be censorship if this newspaper dropped my column. Freedom of speech also includes the right not to say...

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

Ankara And Baghdad, Together Again For The First Time

Turkey and Iraq have reached agreement on a new security partnership and have signed an agreement to fight terrorism on both sides of their shared border. The development strengthens the credibility of Nouri al-Maliki's government, especially since the Turks had to dispense with a major demand: Iraq and Turkey have signed a security agreement aimed at curbing the activities of the Turkish Kurdish separatist group, the PKK. However, the final agreement does not include a key Turkish proposal that its troops be allowed to pursue PKK fighters over the border into Iraq. The proposal had been strongly opposed by the Kurdish officials in Iraq. Turkey says they will continue to press the issue of hot pursuit for PKK terrorists. They will have much less leverage now, however, after the completion of these negotiations. Maliki needed the prestige that came with a partnership with Turkey, and he needed to make sure...

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

Mitigating The Indefensible

Common sense seems to dictate that little gain could come from any historical mitigation of the stain of slavery on this nation. For a nation whose existence started with the words We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness, we spent eighty-nine years refusing to meet that commitment in law and another century in fact. Just that knowledge should keep people from attempting to mitigate the foul nature of this burden on our history, and its impact on our national life today. Michael Medved, brave soul that he is, also demonstrates an uncharacteristic sense of tone-deafness in his Townhall column yesterday. At Heading Right, I agree with some of his statements of fact, but argue that they're irrelevant. Slavery involved government protection for...

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

Phony Outrage

Bloggers jumped all over a comment made by Rush Limbaugh on Tuesday, in which he supposedly called military personnel who oppose the war in Iraq "phony soldiers." Immediately, voices on the Left rushed to defend the honor of men and women in the military, accusing Limbaugh of insulting their integrity. In fact, the same blogs who had no problem with MoveOn's ad accusing General David Petraeus of potentially traitorous conduct reacted with outrage to Rush's comment. However, unlike the "Betray Us" ad, Rush' critics took the comment out of context. Let's take a look at the transcript from the broadcast (via Worldwide Standard). Rush made it clear what he meant by phony: RUSH: It's not possible intellectually to follow these people. CALLER: No, it's not. And what's really funny is they never talk to real soldiers. They pull these soldiers that come up out of the blue and spout to...

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

John McCain Conference Call

John McCain conducted another in his series of blogger conference calls this afternoon, and I had the chance to participate. It took a few minutes to get the conference going, but he did make it from his Detroit speech to the Hispanic business community. McCain talked about entrepeneurship and the need to get government out of the way of private enterprise. He said that he's still pleased with the status of his candidacy. He's even more pleased that the leading Democrats would not commit to a date certain for withdrawal even before 2013. He says that General Petraeus gave a good case for continued commitment, and took the fight out of the Democrats over their demand for a withdrawal timeline. Ryan Crocker represents "the best" of what we have have to offer in the foreign service. McCain also came out in favor of the new sanctions from George Bush against...

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

Heading Right Radio: Duane Patterson, Week In Review

Today on Heading Right Radio (2 pm CT), Duane "Generalissimo" Patterson joins me for the week in review, our traditional Friday fare. What will we cover? I'll probably talk about Newt Gingrich's Solutions Day, as well as the various free-speech arguments over Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's speech at Columbia and Lynne Stewart's participation on the Hofstra panel on legal ethics. We'll definitely talk about Burma, and I'll ask Duane why LA jurors can't close the deal on celebrity criminals. As always, Duane will brief us on the upcoming Hugh Hewitt show. Call 646-652-4889 to join the conversation! And don't forget to join our chat room! Did you know that you can listen to Heading Right Radio through your TiVo service? Click here for the instructions. Also, you can subscribe to Heading Right Radio through iTunes now by clicking this link:...

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

Clinton: Let's Add A $20 Billion Entitlement (Update & Bump - Context?)

Fresh off of pushing for an expansion of S-CHIP into the middle class and adding tens of billions of dollars on insurance subsidies, Hillary Clinton decided to create another entitlement program for her cradle-to-grave nanny state vision. In her address to the Congressional Black Caucus, Hillary said she'd like to spend $20 billion each year on checks to newborn infants: Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton said Friday that every child born in the United States should get a $5,000 "baby bond" from the government to help pay for future costs of college or buying a home. Clinton, her party's front-runner in the 2008 race, made the suggestion during a forum hosted by the Congressional Black Caucus. "I like the idea of giving every baby born in America a $5,000 account that will grow over time, so that when that young person turns 18 if they have finished high school...

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

Senior AQI Leader Reaches Room Temperature

One of the highest-placed leaders of al-Qaeda in Iraq, the man responsible for kidnapping and killing American soldiers, has been killed by American-led forces. Abu Usama al-Tunisi had become the "emir" of Yusufiyah and led foreign terrorists in their campaign against US and Iraqi forces: U.S.-led forces have killed one of the most important leaders of Al Qaeda in Iraq, a Tunisian believed connected to the kidnapping and killings last summer of American soldiers, a top commander said Friday. Brig. Gen. Joseph Anderson said the death of the terrorist in a U.S. airstrike Tuesday south of Baghdad, and recent similar operations against Al Qaeda, have left the organization in Iraq fractured. "Abu Usama al-Tunisi was one of the most senior leaders ... the emir of foreign terrorists in Iraq and part of the inner leadership circle," Anderson said. Al-Tunisi was a leader in helping bring foreign terrorists into the country...

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

Newt's Running ... In 2012

My friend and all-around brilliant political analyst Patrick Ruffini deduces that Newt Gingrich has decided to enter the 2008 presidential race. He takes a look at Newt's pledge scheme and figures that Newt only needs to find 14,000 donors to contribute the maximum $2300 in order to reach the threshold of $30 million Newt demanded as a prerequisite to opening a nomination bid: Newt would need only 14,000 of his fans to flood the site with $2,300 "pledges" in order to declare a broad public groundswell for his candidacy. Sound far-fetched? You've seen what Ron Paul supporters do. You think Newt fans wouldn't do the same if they believed his entry into the race depended on it? And if Newt's people actually left the system this open -- i.e. didn't require you to leave a credit card that could then be charged -- I guarantee this hack would spread like...

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

Experience The Adventure Of Travelocity

I've found that booking my travel for the blog on Travelocity normally gets me good bargains and excellent adaptability. However, in order to use it properly, one has to focus on the details of the itineraries in order to avoid having unusual adventures. Tonight, I'm learning the lesson the hard way in Atlanta's Hartsfield Airport. Initially, I wanted to fly back from my Solutions Day trip around midday, and I thought that's what I'd booked. It would have brought me home in time to do my Heading Right Radio show and then get some rest for more travel. I've already booked my flight to DC on Monday for a special event, after which I'll do my HRR show at the prime-time hour of 9 pm ET to discuss the event, which I can't talk about at the moment. However, late last night I realized that I had selected an 11...

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

September 29, 2007

Iraq: We Want American Security Partnership

Iraq plans to propose one final extension to the UN Security Council mandate for the American deployment, the AP reports this morning. After the end of 2008, Iraq wants to directly negotiate a bilateral security arrangement with the US similar to that of Kuwait and Qatar: Iraq wants the U.N. Security Council to extend the mandate of the 160,000-stong U.S.-led multinational force in Iraq only through the end of 2008, then replace it with a long-term bilateral security agreement, Foreign Ministry officials said Saturday. Aides to Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari said the mandate extension for the U.S.-led coalition, due to be discussed at the end of this year, would be "the last extension for these forces." Iraq would then seek a long-term, bilateral security agreement with the United States like the ones Washington has with Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Qatar and Egypt, he said. "Iraq needs...

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

Taliban Changes Tactics, Karzai Offers A Deal

The Taliban has seen itself decimated in attempting straight-up fights against Western forces. Some have wondered why Mullah Omar doesn't just adopt the tactics of al-Qaeda terrorists in Iraq and focus on suicide bombings. Apparently, Omar has decided to do just that, and one of his terrorists killed 30 people in Kabul this morning: A Taliban suicide bomber wearing an Afghan army uniform set off a huge explosion Saturday while trying to board a military bus in the capital, killing 30 people, most of them soldiers, officials said. Hours later, the Afghan president offered to meet personally with the Taliban leader for peace talks and give the militants a position in government. ... Saturday's explosion ripped off the roof of the bus and tore out its sides, leaving a charred hull of burnt metal. It was reminiscent of the deadliest insurgent attack in Afghanistan since the U.S.-led invasion in 2001...

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

Huckabee Hits The Bush Administration

Mike Huckabee has decided to make a clean break with the Bush administration on foreign policy. In a speech yesterday, Huckabee supported the surge in Iraq but came out against the White House on most other foreign-policy issues, including the conduct of the war on terror: Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee ripped the Bush administration's war against terrorism Friday, delivering a bold and potentially risky speech that could establish the former Arkansas governor as the maverick among top Republican candidates and test his party's loyalty to President Bush. "This administration's bunker mentality has been counterproductive both at home and abroad," Huckabee said in opening a broad indictment of Bush's style and policy. The speech came after several top Republican candidates started distancing themselves from Bush, vowing change on such issues as illegal immigration and federal spending even as they endorsed Bush's foreign policy. By going much further than his rivals...

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

Williams Defends O'Reilly, Rips CNN

Juan Williams defends Bill O'Reilly against charges of racism in Time Magazine, and angrily calls out O'Reilly's critics for calling him an Uncle Tom. He charges those critics with intellectual dishonesty for pulling one quote out of context to reverse what O'Reilly really said -- and he also accuses CNN for deliberately misreporting the incident in order to eat into O'Reilly's substantial ratings lead over CNN. It's a media meltdown! It started with Bill O'Reilly's grandmother. And it blew up into charges of O'Reilly being called a racist and me being attacked as a "Happy Negro" (read that as a lackey or Uncle Tom). ... So, O'Reilly says to me that the reality to black life is very different from the lowlife behavior glorified by the rappers. He told me he was at a restaurant in Harlem recently and there was no one shouting profanity, no one threatening people. Then...

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

NARN, The Out Of Context Edition

The Northern Alliance Radio Network will be on the air today, with our six-hour-long broadcast schedule starting at 11 am CT. The first two hours features Power Line's John Hinderaker and Chad and Brian from Fraters Libertas. Mitch and I hit the airwaves for the second shift from 1-3 pm CT, and King Banaian and Michael Broadkorb have The Final Word from 3-5. If you're in the Twin Cities, you can hear us on AM 1280 The Patriot, or on the station's Internet stream if you're outside of the broadcast area. Today, I'm going to catch up with Mitch on the various topics we've missed in the three weeks I've been gone from the show. We'll definitely talk about Newt Gingrich's Solutions Day, the apparent wave of intellectually dishonest cherry-picking of conservative commentary over the past couple of weeks, the collapse of Democratic opposition to the surge in Iraq, and...

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

I Hate To Say I Told You So, But ....

... well, I did tell you so. Newt Gingrich has announced through his spokesman that he will not run for President in this cycle. Running American Solutions makes it legally impossible to conduct an exploratory campaign: Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich will not run for president in 2008 after determining he could not legally explore a bid and remain as head of his tax-exempt political organization, a spokesman said Saturday. "Newt is not running," spokesman Rick Tyler said. "It is legally impermissible for him to continue on as chairman of American Solutions (for Winning the Future) and to explore a campaign for president." Gingrich decided "to continue on raising the challenges America faces and finding solutions to those challenges" as the group's chairman, Tyler said, "rather than pursuing the presidency." Over the past few months, Gingrich had stoked speculation he might enter the crowded GOP field, despite the seemingly insurmountable...

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

Rutten: Score One For Ahmadinejad

Tim Rutten looks at the arguments from Lee Bollinger's apologists and finds them unconvincing. Reaching back to Columbia University's earlier support for fascists, Rutten scores the win for Ahmadinejad for his appearance at the Ivy League academy, and scolds Columbia for giving Ahmadinejad the Western legitimacy he craved (via Memeorandum): It would be interesting to know if any consideration of these events -- and all that followed a decade of engagement and dialogue with fascism -- occurred before Columbia extended a speaking invitation to a man who hopes to see Israel "wiped off the face of the Earth," has denied the Holocaust and is defying the world community in pursuit of nuclear weapons. Perhaps they did and perhaps that's part of what motivated Lee Bollinger, Columbia's president now, to deliver his extraordinarily ill-advised welcoming remarks to Ahmadinejad. Bollinger clearly had an American audience in mind when he denounced the Iranian...

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

The Bookshelf Is Open

One feature at the new Captain's Quarters has not yet been properly introduced. As part of my work as a blogger and radio host, I interview authors on a regular basis, and I will often include a link to their books. In the previous design, I had a small portion of the sidebar that would show those books and others that I recommend, but it did not get updated very often. In the new design, we included a page called the Bookshelf. It shows all of the books that I have covered, with links back to Amazon. I participate in the Amazon Associates program, which pays me a small percentage of the sale price on every book sold through this blog. In fact, that's true for any purchase made at Amazon resulting from a CapQ referral, so I have included a search widget on the page that will allow readers...

« August 2007 | October 2007 »

September 30, 2007

Taking The Day Off

A bout of insomnia, computer problems, and a busy travel schedule have led to do something I haven't done in the four years I've been blogging -- take a day off. I need a recharge of the batteries and preparation for travel tomorrow. I'm going to give the First Mate some undivided attention, because she deserves it. Have a great day -- I'll be back tomorrow!...

« August 2007 | October 2007 »