Morning Round Up 12-20

December 20, 2006

Seems to be quite a bit of focus on Presidential nominees this morning. Phillip Klein at the American Spectator references some of Giuliani’s quotes at his fundraiser regarding the other possible Republican contenders. Patrick Hines posts the results of a recent Newsweek poll showing John McCain still leads Hillary Clinton. Debbie Schlussel brought the heat concerning Obama’s ties to Islam via his middle name and family. Allahpundit has a bit of a round up featuring her comments and some responses. Red State posts a John Fund article weighing whether or not Obama should run in ’08.

Policy in the Sphere

National Defense 


TIME’s person of the year…

December 19, 2006

… is you.

The “Great Man” theory of history is usually attributed to the Scottish philosopher Thomas Carlyle, who wrote that “the history of the world is but the biography of great men.” He believed that it is the few, the powerful and the famous who shape our collective destiny as a species. That theory took a serious beating this year.

The TIME magazine article said that the story of this past year was…

…a story about community and collaboration on a scale never seen before. It’s about the cosmic compendium of knowledge Wikipedia and the million-channel people’s network YouTube and the online metropolis MySpace. It’s about the many wresting power from the few and helping one another for nothing and how that will not only change the world, but also change the way the world changes.

Even Washington felt the shock waves of the modern internet in the past year. The Coburn-Obama transparency act and the “Macaca” incident were both integral in the emergence of Government 2.0. TIME is noticing a real trend that is shaping global communication and the world as we know it.

A Sign of Things to Come?

December 7, 2006

From The Washington Post:

It was a solemn pledge, repeated by Democratic leaders and candidates over and over: If elected to the majority in Congress, Democrats would implement all of the recommendations of the bipartisan commission that examined the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

But with control of Congress now secured, Democratic leaders have decided for now against implementing the one measure that would affect them most directly: a wholesale reorganization of Congress to improve oversight and funding of the nation’s intelligence agencies. Instead, Democratic leaders may create a panel to look at the issue and produce recommendations, according to congressional aides and lawmakers.

Conservative bloggers haven’t let this “little slip” pass by unnoticed…

Pejman at Red State notes that it seems bizarre that the Dems would swear up and down about fully implementing these recommendations and then not do it… until you realize that part of the recommendations include Congressional reorganization.

Tim Chapman has a comparison of Harry Reid’s comments then and now.

Jim Geraghty says that the Dems were seemingly on a roll until dropping the ball with this issue.

Even this NYTimes editorial shows disappointment with such inaction by the Dems:

Now that they can taste power again, however, the victors seem to be having second thoughts. Instead of attempting wholesale committee reform in the first weeks of Congress, Democratic leaders may punt the idea toward oblivion in some sort of a study panel, according to The Washington Post. Nothing could be more disappointing to voters.

Below is a Nancy Pelosi quote from before the election that sheds some light why some folks are up in arms over this “picking and choosing” over full implementation of the recommendations:

“Republicans’ misplaced priorities mean America is not as safe it should be. Democrats have a new direction for the American people — one that will fully implement the recommendations of the 9/11 Commission and make the security of the American people a top priority.” –USNewswire

This doesn’t bode well for earmark reform…

Iraq Study Group Releases Findings

December 6, 2006

The Washington Post reports the findings of the Iraq Study Group:

Circumstances in Iraq are “grave and deteriorating,” with a potential government collapse and a “humanitarian catastrophe” if the U.S. does not change course and seek a broader diplomatic solution to the problems that have wracked the country since the U.S. invaded, according to a bipartisan panel that sent its findings to President Bush and Congress today.

In what amounts to the most extensive independent assessment of the nearly four-year-old conflict that has claimed the lives of 2,800 Americans and tens of thousands of Iraqis, the Iraq Study Group painted a bleak picture of a nation that risks a “slide toward chaos” without new efforts to reconcile its feuding religious and ethnic minorities.

Despite a laundry list of recommendations meant to encourage regional diplomacy and lead to a draw down of U.S. forces over the next year, the panel acknowledged that stability in the country may be impossible to achieve any time soon.

The Heritage Foundation published this article in response to the ISG’s findings.  In it, Dr. James Carafano and James Phillips discuss the good, the bad and the ugly of the ISG findings.  Below is a snippet from the introduction of the article (which is worth a read).

The ISG report does clarify some of the ugly dilemmas intrinsic to Iraq and will provide a useful reference point for the ongoing policy debate on Iraq. Its recommendations comprise a sensible and realistic way forward in Iraq, with one major exception: Drawing Syria and Iran into efforts to stabilize Iraq would accomplish little at great expense or even backfire, undermining stability. The ISG’s broad approach of reducing U.S. forces’ combat role while increasing their role training Iraqi troops and police would put U.S. resources where they can do the most good as Iraq’s government tackles the difficult political issues behind the country’s current violence. Conversely, as the ISG finds, an abrupt withdrawal of U.S. forces would lead to strategic, moral, and humanitarian disaster.

Bush Says Troop Drawdowns Unrealistic

November 30, 2006

 Continuing his stance on no “cutting and running” in Iraq, President Bush had this to say while meeting while meeting with the Iraqi Prim Minister Thursday:

President Bush delivered a staunch endorsement of Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki Thursday morning and dismissed calls for U.S. troop withdrawals from Iraq as unrealistic, following a summit meeting in which the two leaders discussed cracking down on sectarian violence and speeding the turnover of security responsibilities…

Bush said he told Maliki that the White House’s own review of strategy in Iraq is nearing conclusion. The Pentagon on Wednesday announced the shift of some U.S. troops to Baghdad from elsewhere in the country and the possible mobilization of addition reserve units.

Bush is known for not telegraphing major policy changes in advance; he announced the replacement of Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, for example, only days after saying Rumsfeld would stay until the end of his term. But the president’s comments in Amman, coupled with other statements in the past few days, seemed to set firm lines on Iraq policy beyond which he would not be pushed.

A Few of Kim’s Favorite Things…

November 30, 2006

The Washington Post reports a few things that Kim Jong Il will not be receiving this Christmas…

Fake fur and real fur and jewelry and Jet Skis,

Crystal and Segways and bubbly and Caddies,

Race cars and leather and plasma TVs

These are a few of Kim’s favorite things.

But effective this holiday season, there will be none of those things coming into North Korea, the United States hopes. After Pyongyang tested a nuclear bomb in October, the U.N. Security Council voted unanimously to deny the rogue nation and its leader, Kim Jong Il, foreign weapons, nuclear technology — and luxury goods.

Sounds pretty silly, but the article explains more as to why the U.S. and other countries see this as a reasonable and intelligent sanction on N. Korea…

The State Department’s newly released list of no-go goodies blends knowledge and legend of the diminutive strongman’s high-end tastes. Denying Kim what he craves, the theory goes, might prompt better behavior from a dictator who reportedly spends nearly a million dollars a year on rare cognac.

We might never see how this tactic supplements oh… I don’t know, important things like denying foreign weapons and nuclear technology. I like to think of it as icing on the cake… or in honor of Christmas… mistle on the toe?

Heritage Research Valuable in the Sphere

November 29, 2006

Heritage Foundation research by Dr. Tim Kane has received a lot of attention from the blogosphere in the past month. His article entitled, “Who Are the Recruits? The Demographic Characteristics of Military Enlistment, 2003-2005,” has been a valuable resource for many across the sphere in light of John Kerry’s “you get stuck in Iraq” rant and Rangel’s call for a military draft.

According to blogpulse, 89 bloggers wrote posts that directly linked to the article on the Heritage Web site and 42 bloggers linked to these posts. A technorati search revealed that there were 258 links to the Heritage article.

The graph below shows when the increase in linkage occured. The first and highest spike was in response to John Kerry’s comments and the two other spikes are in regards to Charlie Rangel’s remarks concerning the draft.

This post at little green footballs characterizes the response from the right. The post shows how John Kerry and others are making erroneous assumptions about the education level of those enlisting in the military by linking to the Heritage article. Tim Chapman links to the article in response to Charlie Rangel’s recent comments about socio-economic levels in the military. Tim says that Rangel’s rhetoric is “not only insulting, but factually wrong.” Captain Ed links to the Heritage article, showing his frustration towards an Air America piece that made claims contrary to what the Heritage Foundation study produced. Curt at Flopping Aces thinks that Rangel’s view of our soldiers is demeaning and innaccurate. He also provides video of Rangel’s comments from appearances on both CNN and FOX News. Ivy Sellers of Human Events includes the study in her post, claiming that Rangel is “completely off his rocker.”

Below is a list of blogs that linked to the Heritage Foundation research.

Hoyer Gets the #2 Spot

November 16, 2006

So today, Pelosi’s controversial support for Congressman Murtha has failed to give him the #2 spot.

Rep. Steny H. Hoyer (D-Md.) was elected House majority leader this morning, defeating Speaker-designate Nancy Pelosi‘s candidate, Rep. John P. Murtha (D-Pa.).

Hoyer won the No. 2 leadership job easily — 149 to 86. But the showdown divided the Democratic House caucus only a week after the party won a majority of seats in the Congress that convenes in January. Before the caucus vote, a number of Democrats had complained that Pelosi and her allies used strong-arm tactics and threats to try to elect Murtha to the job.

So for her first act as Speaker, Pelosi seems to have caused a rift in the party and lost her first battle. Not exactly the way that I’d like to start off.

Pelosi’s aggressive intervention on behalf of Murtha baffled and angered many Democrats, who said she unnecessarily put her reputation on the line out of misplaced loyalty to a friend and because of a long-standing feud with Hoyer, currently the minority whip. Pelosi pushed Murtha’s candidacy at social events, in private meetings and with incoming freshman Democrats; they were called to her office to discuss committee assignments, only to hear first that she needed Murtha in order to be an effective leader.

One of these smiles is genuine I think!

Morning Round Up 11-14

November 14, 2006

A lot of talk in the sphere this morning concerning Nancy Pelosi and the supposed ending of the honeymoon period for the democrats. Pelosi’s support for congressman Murtha has got some folks questioning whether or not Pelosi will really “drain the swamp”. This post at BitsBlog reports that Murtha may be one of the most currupt congressmen in the house right now.

Reports on Giuliani’s apparent first steps toward a Presidential run circulated throughout the sphere as well. Chris Bowers at liberal blog MyDD thinks Giuliani is the top pick for the Republican party. Ian at Hot Air seems to think the same.

It appears to be the consensus of many that the decision to make Mel Martinez chairman of the Republican National Committee was an ill advised one. Captain Ed calls Martinez an underwhelming choice and tells us why.

Policy Issues Around the Sphere

National Security




Morning Round Up 11-7

November 7, 2006

Election day is in full swing across the country and the blogosphere is a buzz with predictions. Folks from one end of the sphere to the other have offered their last-minute predictions on who will win what house or race. Tomorrow, I hope to be posting at if all goes well. Tim has given me the opportunity to round up predictions throughout the sphere and “rate” the bloggers that have offered us their take on who will win what today. It should be interesting to see whose predictions were the best.
A few posts of note for today: