Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Jeff Jacoby compares the recent back-and-forth between Romney and Giuliani on how tough they will be on illegal immigrants (as opposed to their previously held stance of being more tolerant about them) with the historical reputation of the Know-Nothing Party of the 19th Century. While racism and ignorance is no doubt a part of the issue today, as it was then, I think that the number of people who are reasonably concerned with our porous borders and with the tolerance of law-breaking makes today's anti-illegal immigrant crowd a much larger, and more credible force than the Know-Nothings ever were.

My old employers at the Portsmouth Herald will soon have new bosses, since Rupert Murdoch doesn't want to keep their parent chain.

More rioting by French "youths", but now armed with shotguns. Michelle Malkin has a round-up.

Israeli and Palestinian leaders set a goal of a comprehensive peace agreement by the end of next year. I wouldn't bet the change in my pocket that they'll achieve that goal. The biggest reason? The fact that a large number of Palestinians (and a not inconsiderable number of Israelis) don't want peace, they want victory, as demonstrated by this story.

Evangelical Christians in Iowa are warming to Mike Huckabee, not only because he is one of them, but because they wonder if Mitt Romney's Mormonism is really a Christian faith. I really believe Romney's religion is an issue, and he will have to address it at some point if he wants to win the nomination.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Caroline Glick examines the legal underpinnings of the Jewish State, and how she believes so many leading Israelis, as well as Westerners, have gotten it wrong. I tend to believe that a state's survival is dependent upon its ability to defend itself, rather than any legal agreement. Of course, with the Israelis, when a majority of the population no longer sees their country as legally legitimate, they may lose that ability.

Ralph Peters sees another round of futility in the Annapolis talks. Meanwhile, is Syria playing a double game? I would say yes, and yes.

Nawaz Sharif condemns his old foe Musharraf. I suspect someone will end up sleeping with the fishes before this is over.

Another aspect of our health care system under strain.

Youths clash with police in France.

Washington Redskins star Sean Taylor, dead at 24.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Stanley Kurtz makes the argument that Pakistan is not, and never was, a democracy. Therefore, we should not fall for the line that supporting Nawaz Sharif, who returned to Pakistan yesterday to the acclaim of his supporters, will automatically mean a return to democracy in that troubled nation. According to Kurtz,

Led by a naive media, the United States and Europe are being sold a bill of goods. We hear a lot about a “genuine return to democracy,” “the restoration of full democracy,” or the “restoration of the constitution.” All of this will supposedly follow an end to the emergency and the advent of free and fair elections. This is nonsense. Democracy and the constitution cannot be restored in Pakistan because, in any serious sense, neither democracy nor constitutional rule has ever existed there.

Read the whole thing.

Stephanie Coontz argues that the state should get out of the marriage business. I agree.

Michael Barone examines a dizzying array of possibilities for the 2008 election.

John Distaso has it right when he examines where we are after all the fuss concerning the New Hampshire Presidential Primary...

So, after nearly four years of Democratic anxiety and jockeying, after the appointment of a special commission to recommend a new configuration of the early nominating calendar, after months of deliberations by the Democratic National Committee's rules committee, after a vote last August by the full DNC to move New Hampshire from second to third in the calendar, and after criticisms and threats by the likes of national Democratic players, New Hampshire's primary remains first-in-the-nation by a week _ behind only the Iowa caucuses, as it has been for three decades.

The Republican National Committee's decision to sanction the state GOP for selecting its delegate earlier than allowed by RNC rule also has had no impact, as expected.

The lesson for both national parties is that they simply can not control the nominating process. They can't control what the states do _ least of all New Hampshire. They make candidates stop coming to New Hampshire and they certainly can't stop the media from covering the candidates here.

If Gardner is right that the battle is truly over for this cycle, then New Hampshire wins again, despite literally years of effort to dismantle, or at least, dilute, the primary.

It's thanks in part to Gardner, who not surprisingly refused to blink or even flinch. It's thanks in part to the state primary protection law, and it's thanks in part to the candidates and media, who keep on coming.

Looking ahead, it's impossible to imagine a scenario tougher than this one, a scenario that would force New Hampshire to knuckle under to outside forces and give up the first primary.
And it's impossible to imagine a scenario in which the candidates and the media ignore it.

Amen, Brother.

Bob Novak says Mike Huckabee is a false conservative.

Amity Shlaes has a plan to fix Social Security, the FDR way.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

The sinking dollar means Europeans can get more for their Euros (and Canadians more for their Loonies) here. So, bring them on! Gerard Baker also reminds us that news of America's demise has, as before, been greatly exaggerated.

Venezuelans are about to vote away their freedoms. This kind of behavior was anticipated by the founders of this country, which is why they wrote the Constitution the way they did, including the two-thirds requirement for passing amendments.

Meanwhile, in a place where they take democracy seriously, Australians vote out John Howard. President Bush loses another ally, which is unfortunate, but America does not, as Australia will continue to stand with us, as they have so often in the past.

Ann Coulter urges Democrats to continue reading the New York Times.

A cruise ship, the first built specifically for the ice-strewn waters of the Arctic and Antarctic, sinks off Antarctica. They say a fist-sized hole in the hull led to her demise. I'm not a seafaring man, but that sounds fishy to me.

The U.S. Navy is unhappy with a Chinese decision to refuse a Thanksgiving Day port call to the U.S.S. Kitty Hawk.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Something I have been talking about for years...New Hampshire continues to move into the Democratic column. Since we are a wealthy state (and getting wealthier), that's not a surprise, since a new study shows the Democrats are the party of the rich.

President Sarkozy stares down the transportation unions in France. Perhaps he is the French Margaret Thatcher after all.

In New York, homicides are dropping. With under 500 for the year, New York may be one of the safest large cities in the world. Meanwhile, in Philadelphia, the high crime rate leads to the election of a dark horse candidate for Mayor.

Dick Morris examines what the latest polling from Iowa means for Senator Clinton.

Baghdad, Iraq. A capital transformed.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

We finally have a date! The New Hampshire Presidential Primary will happen on January 8, according to Secretary of State Gardner.

The U.S. military reports a "phenomenal" drop in Violence in Iraq.

More strange behavior from people who adopt a vegan lifestyle...adopting turkeys. As is the case with so many other strange behaviors, this is possible only because of the level of prosperity generated by our capitalistic society, enhanced by our liberal democracy, protected by our volunteer military. Alas, I suspect most of the people who engage in this behavior do not appreciate that fact.

More evidence that Oswald acted alone.

At least one writer in Great Britain thinks George W. Bush is getting a bad rap.

More trouble looming for the dollar, driven by our enemies, of course, but also, sadly, by our "friends".

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Senator John Kerry is taking on the man who financially backed the Swift Boat campaign against him, for a possible million dollar prize.

The U. S. Supreme Court will hear a case concerning the District of Columbia's almost total ban on the private possession of firearms. I agree with Glenn Reynolds, who says the court's most reasonable approach would be to recognize that the Second Amendment protects an individual right to own firearms, much the same way that the First Amendment protects an individual right to free speech. Each right is not absolute, but nearly so (you can't cry "fire" in a crowded theater, and you can't own a nuke).

Jonah Goldberg says Mike Huckabee is scarier than Ron Paul. This while Huckabee continues to gain ground in Iowa according to a new poll.

Scientists have found a way to create stem cells without destroying embryos. If perfected, this technique will eliminate the ethical and moral obstacles that have slowed this area of research. Excellent news, indeed.

Bill Roggio explains why a new strategy to defeat the Taliban in Pakistan won't work.

I just bought a sports package from Comcast so I can get the NFL Network, which I used to get as part of my basic cable package. Here is a story that explains why this is happening.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Even the New York Times can see that the "surge" of American troops into Iraq, and the new strategy for fighting the war implemented by General Petraeus and his troops, has made a difference. "Baghdad Starts to Exhale as Security Improves" is the headline.

In New Orleans, a new White-majority on a City Council is yet another indicator of how the city was changed by Katrina.

In Iowa, Senator Obama is gaining on Hillary Clinton according to the most recent polls, with one poll putting him in the lead.

In New Hampshire, Mitt Romney continues to have a solid lead in most of the recent polls. But John Distaso points out that the data indicates most New Hampshire Republicans still have not settled for certain on a candidate. While Romney clearly has the advantage, don't be shocked if these numbers change considerably between now and the election (whenever that might be).

What to make of the dollar's decline? One man's opinion.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Ralph Peters writes about 12 myths of 21st Century war.

Why are the current crop of anti-war films doing so poorly at the box office, despite the fact that polling data indicates the Iraq War is unpopular? Here is one man's opinion. I agree with the argument that people want to see stories about heroes. But I also believe it is because the people in Hollywood are not only allowing their own political bias to cloud their judgement, but that they also fail to see the truth behind the poll numbers. Americans are not unhappy with the Iraq War because we are fighting it. They are unhappy because they perceive we are not winning it.

In Pakistan, the Army is losing ground to the Islamists, even while they spend a great deal of their energy on silencing opposition to President Musharraf.

A Federal panel has recommended that thousands of inmates incarcerated for crack cocaine offenses have their sentences reduced. Meanwhile, a study says that a significant percentage of African-Americans, born into middle-class families, have dropped out of the middle-class. Gee, I wonder if the crack epidemic might have had something to do with that?

Some more thoughts on why we might be looking at a looming recession.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Check out the Veteran's Day pieces by James S. Robbins and Peter Suderman on the NRO website. Personally, I want to thank all the veterans out there, whether they saw combat or not, for serving the country.

In what may be the most politically important, and sensitive, decision in many years, the U.S. Supreme Court is pondering whether or not to take a case that could go to the heart of the gun control issue. Does the Second Amendment protect an individual right to firearms ownership (I think it does)? The court sidestepped the issue back in 1939 and has never met it head on since. That might change very soon.

Could we be facing the worst recession since the Great Depression? One man thinks so.

However, another man thinks the U.S. will retain its economic supremacy through the 21st Century.

I fear "the unknown unknowns".

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Markets and the dollar, both headed south. I've got a bad feeling about this.

Are the Israelis getting ready to strike Iran's nuclear facilities? I've got a bad feeling about this.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

The President's "Johnny-come-lately" approach to fiscal discipline has, as expected, produced little in the way of support when he finally has broken out the veto pen. The latest example happened yesterday when numerous Republicans joined the Democrats in a veto override of a Water Bill. If President Bush had been a staunch fiscal conservative from the beginning of his administration, he would have found it easier to hold party discipline on the issue today.

David Ignatius hears echoes of the Iranian Revolution in today's unrest in Pakistan. I hope he is wrong, but I fear that he is right.

Robert J. Samuelson sees a recession coming, and concludes it isn't necessarily a bad thing. Of course, as his personal income will probably not take a big hit, it is easy for him to say.

The Neo-cons strike back at Ron Paul.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Derrick Jackson is frustrated by the powerlessness of the Democratic majority in Congress. His frustration is shared, no doubt, by many other Liberals, which could be a factor in November of 2008.

Also writing in the Boston Globe, James Carroll says there is no such thing as "Islamofascism".

Ron Paul raises more than $3.5 million in one day. While he hasn't shown much in the polls here in New Hampshire so far, he has started to advertise on television. With more money he can buy more ads and, perhaps, begin to raise his name recognition level and start doing better in the polls, which will lead to more attention by the MSM. Pat Buchanan was still in single digits in the polls a month before his New Hampshire primary win in 1996, so history teaches us that it is not impossible for Paul to make a legitimate run.

Andrew Bacevich says it is time to admit that the so-called "War on Terror" is a failure and return to a policy of realism. I have always believed that the label "War on Terror" was ridiculous, as you cannot go to war against a tactic. We should have declared war against Al Qaeda, a specific entity, and the Taliban government of Afghanistan back in September of 2001. Of course, we did not. The next President, I believe, should jettison the "War on Terror" label and call for specific measures against specific entities.

In Pakistan, the lawyers are trying to fight back against President Musharraf's crackdown. So far, they have managed to create some degree of unrest, although at the cost of seeing so many of their fellows thrown into prison. The U.S. response has been mixed, as we are trying to walk the fine line between our democratic principles and our desire for stability inside a nuclear-armed Islamic country. I'm not terribly optimistic about the outcome.

Michael Barone says we may be seeing a political watershed moment when it comes to illegal immigration. I'm waiting for a candidate to make enforcement of our current laws a central part of his (or her) campaign. That person will see his (or her) numbers rise, especially in the GOP.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Stanley Kurtz has this examination of potential scenarios for Pakistan following the declaration of a state of emergency by President Musharraf.

Pajamas Media has a roundup of the latest from Pakistan.

One of Musharraf's opponents says his actions constitute a second coup.

Bill Roggio also has an analysis of the situation.

I have argued many times on this blog that we would eventually face a larger, more destructive war with the Islamists. The situation in Pakistan could be the spark.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

The Army is starting the year in the hole when it comes to recruiting. That's not surprising when one considers the fact that we are enjoying a solid economy and fighting an unpopular war in Iraq (Afghanistan is so far under the radar I think most folks don't even know we are still fighting there, but we should educate ourselves about what is happening, since the battle could go either way). The State Department is also having a hard time getting volunteers to serve in Iraq, so they are resorting to a draft, of sorts, from within their ranks. This, of course, has led to some serious dissension.

Despite the ongoing negativity from the MSM, Michael Yon (who is one of the best bloggers who does his reporting from inside Iraq) says that one of Iraq's most important tribal leaders says that Al Qaeda has been defeated.

Speaking of defeated, it appears that Hillary Clinton suffered a defeat at the hands of her rivals in last night's debate. I suspect she will recover, but not until after some hand-wringing and complaining from her supporters, one of whom blamed the moderator for her poor performance.

Dick Morris speculates about what might happen if the polls in Iowa and New Hampshire remain unchanged.

Meanwhile, Ron Paul gets more coverage, this time from Time.

The teachers unions are trying to kill a school choice program in Utah, according to George Will.

Bob Novak thinks Nancy Pelosi is the most powerful Speaker he has ever covered in his 50 years as a Washington reporter.