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Showing posts from March, 2008

McCain slow to put together national campaign

The Washington Post reports on the uneven progress of the McCain campaign and its organization as well as fund raising.

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One of McCain's first decisions has been to assemble a novel and risky campaign structure that will rely on 10 "regional managers" who will make daily decisions in the states under their direction, his advisers said. The managers will gather today in New Mexico to plot strategy with GOP state officials. Some Republican strategists have said that McCain has not made the best use of the extra time that the prolonged Democratic nomination battle has given him. They have criticized the pace and direction of his decisions and have questioned why the senator from Arizona has not held more fundraisers to close the huge financial gap between him and his rivals. Despite scheduling numerous events designed to grab attention, including a trip to meet with leaders in Iraq, Israel and Europe, McCain has struggled to be heard during the battle between Sens. Hill…

Hamas's open ethnic and religious bigotry

NY Times:

In the Katib Wilayat mosque one recent Friday, the imam was discussing the wiliness of the Jew.

“Jews are a people who cannot be trusted,” Imam Yousif al-Zahar of Hamas told the faithful. “They have been traitors to all agreements — go back to history. Their fate is their vanishing. Look what they are doing to us.” At Al Omari mosque, the imam cursed the Jews and the “Crusaders,” or Christians, and the Danes, for reprinting cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad. He referred to Jews as “the brothers of apes and pigs,” while the Hamas television station, Al Aksa, praises suicide bombing and holy war until Palestine is free of Jewish control. Its videos praise fighters and rocket-launching teams; its broadcasts insult the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, for talking to Israel and the United States; its children’s programs praise “martyrdom,” teach what it calls the perfidy of the Jews and the need to end Israeli occupation over Palestinian land, meaning any part of the state of I…

Saudi sex cop's car chase blamed for death of 4

Arab News:

Two men and two women died yesterday when the car they were traveling overturned some 20 kilometers outside the holy city.Eyewitness reports blamed the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice for the accident.“Commission officials were chasing the car in which the four were traveling,” said one witness.The commission’s director in Madinah Fahd Al-Khidr called the allegations baseless and said his organization had nothing to do with the accident.Informed sources said three people died on the spot while one passenger breathed his last at a hospital. Civil Defense officers rushed to the accident site and took the dead and injured to hospital.Col. Mohsen Al-Radadi, spokesman for the Madinah police, said authorities were looking into the cause of the accident.Investigations are still under way regarding the involvement of two commission members in a high speed chase that led to the deaths of a young man and woman in the Tabuk area last month.According to eye…

Mugabe's dilemma--fraud or military coup?

Guardian:

A crisis meeting of Robert Mugabe's security cabinet decided to block the opposition from taking power after what appears to have been a comprehensive victory in Zimbabwe's elections but was divided between using a military takeover to annul the vote and falsifying the results.Diplomatic and Zimbabwean sources who heard first-hand accounts of the Joint Operations Command meeting of senior military and intelligence officers and top party officials on Sunday night said Mugabe favoured immediately declaring himself president again but was persuaded to use the country's electoral commission to keep the opposition from power.The commission began releasing a trickle of results yesterday, more than 36 hours after the polls closed, but the opposition Movement for Democratic Change said it believed the count was being manipulated. Nonetheless, the first results, for 52 seats in the lower house of parliament, cost Mugabe one of his closest allies with the defeat of the just…

A terrorist whiteboard session in Karachi

Telegraph:

A London-based British Muslim has told how he was asked by a man alleged to be one of al-Qa'eda's most senior masterminds to carry out a suicide attack on the capital.

The man, who is known by the pseudonym Abu Omar, spoke of being at a terror terror safe house in Karachi, Pakistan, when Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, who is alleged to have been behind the 9/11 attacks on New York, asked him if he would carry out a "martyrdom" operation in Britain.

At what is described in the London Evening Standard as a "brainstorming" session, Mohammed and others also discussed ideas for terror attacks, marking possibilities on a white-board in scenes reminiscent of a boardroom meeting. Suggestions included killing senior army personnel, blowing up a US embassy and assassinating the King of Saudi Arabia, he said.

Omar also describes befriending suspected key Osama bin Laden henchman Ramzi Binalshibh and meeting other Londoners, including a convicted rapist, to discuss ter…

SEAL awarded post humas Medal of Honor

AP/Sand Diego Union-Tribune:

An elite Navy SEAL who threw himself on top of a grenade in Iraq to save his comrades will be posthumously awarded the nation's highest military tribute, a White House spokeswoman said Monday. The Medal of Honor will be awarded to Petty Officer 2nd Class Michael A. Monsoor. His family will receive the medal during a White House ceremony April 8.
Monsoor is the fifth person to receive the honor since the beginning of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. “Petty Officer Monsoor distinguished himself by extraordinary heroism on Sept. 29, 2006,” press secretary Dana Perino told reporters during a briefing aboard Air Force One as President Bush headed to Europe for a NATO summit. Monsoor was part of a sniper security team in Ramadi with three other SEALs and eight Iraqi soldiers, according to a Navy account. An insurgent fighter threw the grenade, which struck Monsoor in the chest before falling in front of him. Monsoor then threw himself on the grenade, according…

Embassy bomber charged with war crimes

BBC:

The US has charged a Guantanamo Bay detainee with war crimes for the 1998 al-Qaeda attack on the US embassy in Tanzania, which left 11 people dead. Charges against Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani - who was captured in 2004 - include murder and attacking civilians. The Pentagon claims Mr Ghailani worked for al-Qaeda after the bombing as a forger, trainer and as a bodyguard for Osama Bin Laden. The Pentagon said Mr Ghailani could receive the death penalty if convicted. Mr Ghailani, a Tanzanian, is the 15th person to be charged at Guantanamo, where trials are expected to start later this year. He goes by dozens of aliases, including "Foopie" and "Ahmed the Tanzanian".
The US defence department says Mr Ghailani's involvement included: - buying explosives, detonators and transporting bomb components to Dar es Salaam - helping buy the lorry (aka truck) used in the attack - escorting the bomb engineer between Dar es Salaam and Mombassa, Kenya, after the bomb had…

McCain McMomentum

Rasmussen Reports:

The Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll for Monday shows John McCain leading Barack Obama 47% to 42%. He leads Hillary Clinton 49% to 40% (see recent daily results). Among unaffiliated voters, McCain is essentially even with Obama while holding a wide lead over Clinton. When matched against McCain, Clinton earns a bit more support than Obama from Democrats. Obama leads McCain among voters under 40 while McCain has the edge among those 40 and above. McCain leads Clinton among all age groups. New state polling has been released today showing potentially competitive races in Washington, New Jersey, and Michigan. Over the weekend, new state polls were released for Wisconsin and Virginia (see summary of recent state-by-state results). Among all voters nationwide, McCain is now viewed favorably by 53% of voters nationwide and unfavorably by 44%. Obama’s reviews are 49% favorable and 49% unfavorable. For Clinton, those numbers are 43% favorable, 55% unfavo…

Prisons lower the crime rate

James Q. Wilson:

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In the last 10 years, the effect of prison on crime rates has been studied by many scholars. The Pew report doesn't mention any of them. Among them is Steven Levitt, coauthor of "Freakonomics." He and others have shown that states that sent a higher fraction of convicts to prison had lower rates of crime, even after controlling for all of the other ways (poverty, urbanization and the proportion of young men in the population) that the states differed. A high risk of punishment reduces crime. Deterrence works.

But so does putting people in prison. The typical criminal commits from 12 to 16 crimes a year (not counting drug offenses). Locking him up spares society those crimes. Several scholars have separately estimated that the increase in the size of our prison population has driven down crime rates by 25%.

The Pew writers lament the fact that this country imprisons a higher fraction of its population than any other nation in the world, including Russia. …

Remarkable removal of RPG from soldiers hip

This video by Military Times gives the details on the treatment received by a soldier in Afghanistan who survived having an RPG round buried in his pelvic bone.

How Argentina screws the farmers

Mary Anastasia O'Grady:

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The recent trouble began not in Buenos Aires but in the provinces, where agriculture is the main economic activity. Farmers rebelled earlier this month when the government announced an increase in export taxes on agricultural products. Claims that the government's new "retention" rates -- aka export taxes -- are close to an expropriation are not without merit.Take, for example, soy beans. The new export tax will be raised to 44% from 35%. But since farmers also have to pay a 35% income tax on profits, the effective tax rate is significantly higher. "The farmer ends up paying essentially a 63% tax on gross income," says Pablo Guidotti, dean of the school of government at Argentina's DiTella University. If the price of soy goes up, Mr. Guidotti adds, the "retention rate" increases until the government can end up taking as much as 95% of any marginal increase in farmers' gross income.In response to the tax increases,…

New counterinsurgency effort in Afghanistan

Washington Post:

Afghan, British and U.S. officials have launched a new security initiative to empower tribes and other residents -- including former Taliban -- to guard their communities in southern Afghanistan against insurgents and criminals.

The controversial multimillion-dollar program, approved last month by President Hamid Karzai and a group of senior Afghan and foreign officials, will provide radios, phones and cash to village and tribal elders, who in turn agree to work with government forces and deny haven to insurgents. The program would also promote reconciliation by vetting and integrating former Taliban. "You can call them night watchmen or home guards. They are not a formed militia, and there is no net increase in weapons. . . . It is simply creating an antibody to the Taliban in these communities," a senior Western official said. "Taliban commanders and their fighters have come over to us and say they want to work with the government . . . so this is alre…

Obama's lack of passion over black on black murder

Ralph Reiland:

The Department of Justice reports that approximately 8,000 blacks were murdered in the United States in 2005. In one year, that's exactly double the total number of American military deaths during the entire five years of the war in Iraq; in one year, that's 10 times the average number of American military deaths per year since the start of the war. A recent study by the Bureau of Justice Statistics at the Department of Justice shows that blacks committed murders in 2005 at a rate seven times higher than whites. The vast majority of those 8,000 black murders in 2005 were intraracial -- black victims being killed by other blacks. Similarly, Justice Department statistics covering the years 1976 through 2005 show that 94 percent of black murder victims were killed by blacks, and 86 percent of white murder victims were killed by whites. Conversely, in inter-racial terms, 6 percent of black murder victims during those years were killed by non-blacks while 14 percent o…

Iran's role in the Basra battle

Amir Taheri:

IT was bound to happen and may well be happening right now: a war between the Islamic Republic in Iran and the new Iraq. Much of the media have portrayed the latest battles for Basra, and attempts by armed groups to undermine the recently improved security in Baghdad, as a power struggle among rival Shiite factions. In this analysis, three Shiite factions - the Fadila (Virtue), the Dawa (The Call) and the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq - that support Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's coalition government are trying to disarm the remnants of the Mahdi Army of the elusive mullah Muqtada Sadr. But that explanation has several problems. To start with, it is the regular Iraqi army - not any Shiite armed faction - that is doing the fighting in Basra. To underline that point, Maliki went to Basra to supervise operations personally. And the kind of fighting witnessed in Basra is different from the usual militia operations. This is a war of position, with units acting as …

Obama more liberal than he admits

Kenneth Vogel, Politico:

During his first run for elected office, Barack Obama played a greater role than his aides now acknowledge in crafting liberal stands on gun control, the death penalty and abortion– positions that appear at odds with the more moderate image he’s projected during his presidential campaign.

The evidence comes from an amended version of an Illinois voter group’s detailed questionnaire, filed under his name during his 1996 bid for a state Senate seat.

Late last year, in response to a Politico story about Obama’s answers to the original questionnaire, his aides said he “never saw or approved” the questionnaire.

They asserted the responses were filled out by a campaign aide who “unintentionally mischaracterize(d) his position.”

But a Politico examination determined that Obama was actually interviewed about the issues on the questionnaire by the liberal Chicago non-profit group that issued it. And it found that Obama – the day after sitting for the interview – filed an am…

Gambling with church contributions

AP/MSNBC:

The long-serving pastor of a suburban parish is under investigation for allegedly using church money to feed a gambling habit, according to a New York Roman Catholic Church official.The Rev. Patrick Dunne of Our Lady of Sorrows Church in White Plains took a significant amount of church money and has been permanently removed from the parish, the chancellor of the Archdiocese of New York said....
My father used to joke about a preacher who stole from his church and instead of firing him, they made him stay there and preach it out. It appears this congregation is turning the matter over to the DA's office.

Zimbabwe vote result announcement halted

CNN:

Zimbabwe's government has again delayed officially announcing results of the weekend's elections, raising fears of vote-rigging as security forces patrolled the streets.

An electoral commission official abruptly stopped the long-awaited televised announcement early Monday after results of just 24 of 210 parliamentary races were read. Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa was one of the ruling party lawmakers who lost his seat to the opposition, journalists in Zimbabwe told CNN. The government did not announce results from the presidential vote count. Noel Kututwa, chairman of the Zimbabwe Election Support Network, said the delay was "fueling speculation" that Mugabe's government was tampering with the ballot count. His group is monitoring the election. "This is very worrying," Kututwa said. Even before the first results were announced, the major opposition party insisted it had won enough votes to end President Robert Mugabe's 28-year rule over t…

Dems back off calls for Clinton to quit

AP/Houston Chronicle:

Debra Starks has heard the calls for Hillary Rodham Clinton to quit the presidential race, and she's not happy about it. The 53-year old Wal-Mart clerk, bedecked with Clinton campaign buttons, thinks sexism is playing a role in efforts to push the New York senator from the race. Starks wants Clinton to push back."The way I look at it, she's a strong woman and she needs to stay in there. She needs to fight," Starks said at a Clinton campaign rally. "If you want to be president, you have to fight for what you want. If she stays in there and does what she's supposed to do, I think she'll be on her way."Amid mounting calls from top Democrats for Clinton to step aside and clear the path for rival Barack Obama, strategists are warning of damage to the party's chances in November if women — who make up the majority of Democratic voters nationwide, but especially the older, white working-class women who've long formed the former…

McCain's continued success in taking the money out of politics

NY Times:

With attention focused on the Democrats’ infighting for the presidential nomination, Senator John McCain is pressing ahead to the general election but has yet to sign up one critical constituency: the big-money people who powered the Bush fund-raising machine.

As he reintroduces himself to voters this week with stops like one at the Naval Air Station in Meridian, Miss., where he was a flight instructor, Mr. McCain will also attend to another crucial task by courting donors in Mississippi, Florida and Tennessee. Building up his fund-raising apparatus is essential at this point for Mr. McCain, who struggled for much of last year to raise money. To prevail in the general election, he will need to raise substantial amounts of cash to cut into the vast fund-raising edge the Democratic presidential candidates have shown over the Republicans this election cycle.Even though he all but secured the Republican nomination by mid-February, Mr. McCain has so far managed to enlist only a fra…

McCain's blogger outreach gets passed media memes

Washington Times:

Even as talk radio was brutalizing Sen. John McCain in the Republican presidential primaries, conservative bloggers reached a respectful truce with the Arizona senator over touchy issues and gave him what the campaign called a "tremendous positive psychological" boost.
The main reason: Mr. McCain's blogger outreach, the most extensive of any presidential campaign in either party, helped keep him afloat in the dark days last summer when the major press was sizing up his campaign grave. During those times, Mr. McCain got attention and digital ink from the bloggers he invited to biweekly conference calls, and got a chance to talk policy.
"During the unpleasantness, whenever Senator McCain put himself in front of reporters, the question was always, 'How much did you raise today, when are you dropping out,' " said Patrick Hynes, a conservative blogger who Mr. McCain hired in 2006. "And then we'd put him on the phone with bloggers, and…

Go figure--math prodigy works as prostitute

Telegraph:

A child prodigy who was one of the youngest students to be admitted to Oxford University is now working as a prostitute in Manchester, it has been claimed.

Sufiah Yusof was just 13 years old when she was admitted to the prestigious university to study mathematics.

But 10 years on, Miss Yusof now earns £130 an hour working as a prostitute from her flat in Salford, Manchester, according to the News of the World.The newspaper claims it sent an undercover reporter to the 23-year-old's home, where Miss Yusof, who allegedly works under the name Shilpa Lee, described the services she reportedly offered.On her website, she is alleged to have described herself as a "very pretty size 8, 32D bust and 5'5'' tall - available for bookings every day from 11am to 8pm." The website has since been shut down.The gifted student sparked a massive police hunt in 2001 when, at the age of 15, she ran away from Oxford after passing her end-of-term examinations at St Hilda'…

Delayed results from Zimbabwe to give Mugabe time to flee?

Scotsman:

IT LOOKED like the moment millions of struggling Zimbabweans had dreamed of: the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) yesterday claimed it had won Zimbabwe's most crucial poll since independence in 1980.


Tendai Biti, the secretary of MDC, which is led by Morgan Tsvangirai, said: "The people's victory is on course. We have no doubt we have won this election."

The party said early results indicated the MDC had taken 67 per cent of the vote in 35 per cent of polling stations.

However, Zimbabweans were kept on tenterhooks after the state Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) delayed announcing results, fuelling speculation President Robert Mugabe was preparing to flee.

In central Avondale, youths whistled and sang a version of Let it Be, although police had tried to ban MDC supporters from celebrating until official results were published.

Mr Mugabe, who has brought Zimbabwe to its knees in his 28 years in power, appeared to have lost in some of his tradit…

Norks threaten to preempt South Korean preemptive strike

AP/CNN:

North Korea threatened South Korea with destruction Sunday after Seoul's top military officer said he would consider attacking the communist nation if it tried to carry out a nuclear attack.

The statement from North Korea's official news agency marked the third straight day of bellicose rhetoric from the North, which is angry over the harsher line the South's new president has taken against the country since assuming office last month. "Our military will not sit idle until warmongers launch a pre-emptive strike," said an unidentified KCNA military commentator. "Everything will be in ashes, not just a sea of fire, if our advanced pre-emptive strike once begins." On Friday, North Korea test-fired a barrage of missiles into the sea and warned it would "mercilessly wipe out" any South Korean warships that violate its waters near their disputed sea border. Such rhetoric by North Korea at times of increased tensions is not rare, and it come…

Venezuela brain drain accelerates

Austin American-Stateman:

Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez and his dream of "21st century socialism" have spurred thousands to leave the South American nation, slowly creating a middle- and upper-class diaspora in the U.S., Europe and elsewhere. Unlike most migration patterns in the Americas, departing Venezuelans are not motivated primarily by current economic frustration. Instead, they are fleeing government policies that they fear could threaten private property ownership, restrict economic opportunities, lead to job losses and provoke regional conflicts, according to analysts, polls and interviews with people leaving. Manuel Corao, who runs a newspaper serving the Venezuelan community in Miami, estimates that about three Venezuelans a day arrive in the Miami area intending to stay. "They fear the Chávez government; they fear communism and the dictatorship. It's terrible," said Corao, who came from Venezuela 11 years ago. According to U.S. Citizenship and Imm…

Preemptive victory claims in Zimbabwe

AFP:

Zimbabwe's opposition claimed victory Sunday in a general election even before first results were announced, as the United States branded President Robert Mugabe a disgrace to the whole of Africa.

Despite warnings that a pre-emptive declaration would be seen as tantamount to a coup, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) said it was the certain winner and had secured nearly all parliamentary seats in the two main cities. Fearful of post-poll violence, security forces remained on high alert. They arrested 13 activists and two aspiring lawmakers during a punch-up between rival factions of the MDC in Harare, but there was no major unrest. "This far, short of a miracle, we have won this election beyond any reasonable doubt. We have won this election," MDC secretary-general Tendai Biti told a news conference. Biti said the party's assessment was based on unofficial returns posted at polling stations where counting had been completed. And he cast doubt on the Zimbab…

Gore to 'save the Dems' and planet

Jules Crittenden discusses a Telegraph article about Al Gore being brought in to replace the "dream team."

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I think my favorite part … aside from the whole thing, that is … is the idea that replacing the Hero of Tuzla and the change-hoping bigot buddy with an exaggerating doomsayer somehow gets this train back on the rails.

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They keep forgetting his negatives, but don't worry. Crittenden and others will be here to remind them.

The left's problem running against McCain

Dean Barnett:

LAST THURSDAY, A controversy erupted in the blogosphere. Like most controversies that start in the blogosphere and die there as opposed to gaining a second and more meaningful life in the mainstream media, the entire affair was a tempest in a virtual teapot. But this incident was a particularly pregnant one, as it revealed the difficulties the left will have in developing a coherent attack against John McCain. It also highlighted Barack Obama's most significant weakness in a match against Senator McCain. In a campaign address to the Los Angeles World Council, McCain made a point of stressing his hatred for war: I detest war. It might not be the worst thing to befall human beings, but it is wretched beyond all description. When nations seek to resolve their differences by force of arms, a million tragedies ensue. The lives of a nation's finest patriots are sacrificed.

Innocent people suffer and die. Commerce is disrupted; economies are damaged; strategic interests …

Obama, the appeaser

Michael Goodwin:

For millions of Americans, the major attraction to Barack Obama is his call for national unity, a summoning to our shared values and common interests. With his charismatic eloquence, this inspirational ideal has single-handedly made him a political phenomenon and the Democratic front-runner.But Obama's unity appeal, it turns out, has a weak link, one that is dangerous in a President. For revealing it, we can thank the Rev. Jeremiah Wright or, more precisely, Obama's tepid reaction to the outlandish, anti-American things Wright has said. The more he talks about Wright, the more troubling Obama's approach becomes. In a word, he is guilty of appeasement. In a private context, his stubborn loyalty to his longtime pastor might be admirable. But as someone seeking the presidency, Obama has flunked a critical test of national leadership. By continuing to defend Wright even as he criticizes some of his remarks as "offensive" and "stupid," Obama …

The Wookies of war in Basra

Opfor has a Reuters photo of the Mahdi fighters in Basra. The choreography is weird, but the message is clear. This could happen elsewhere in Iraq if we adopt the Democrat policy of too rapid a withdrawal which is what the Brits did in Basra.

Winning in the Democrats' Convention

Karl Rove:

After the last Democratic Primary is held in early June, neither Hillary Clinton nor Barack Obama will have enough votes from delegates elected in caucuses or primaries to be declared the nominee. Obama would have to win 76 percent and Clinton 98 percent of the 535 delegates that are at stake in the final eight contests. Neither will happen.Both sides are frantically wooing the 330 uncommitted superdelegates, who will decide the race. Obama supporters emphasize that he's ahead in the popular vote and argue that superdelegates should respect the wishes of the primary voters (except in the states he lost, of course). They suggest Obama would do better with independents and Republicans in the fall; they argue Hillary Clinton is a flawed, secretive candidate who was wrong on Iraq and dissembles about her experience. Clinton partisans point to her victories in big battleground states and say superdelegates should act in the best interests of the party. They paint Barack Obama…

How weird is Rev. Wright?

He thinks the NY Times is a right wing blog for the Bush administration. The man is more delusional than Hillary Clinton.

Sadr blinks in face off with Maliki

CNN:

Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr told his followers to stop fighting and cooperate with Iraqi security forces Sunday, as U.S. and Iraqi forces targeted his Mehdi Army in Basra and Baghdad.

In the nine-point statement -- which was issued by his headquarters in Najaf and came a day after al-Sadr told his fighters not to surrender their weapons -- the cleric demanded that the government give his supporters amnesty and release any of his followers that are being held. "We announce our disavowal from anyone who carries weapons and targets government institutions, charities and political party offices," said the statement that was distributed across the country and posted on Web sites linked to his movement. The Mehdi Army entered negotiations with the Iraqi government Saturday night, said Sheikh Salah al-Obaidi, a top aide to al-Sadr. The meeting in Najaf marked the first talks between the two sides since the Iraqi government announced a crackdown on "outlaws" in Basr…

Obama Kennedy myth implodes

Washington Post/Houston Chronicle:

Addressing civil rights activists in Selma, Ala., a year ago, Sen. Barack Obama traced his "very existence" to the generosity of the Kennedy family, which he said paid for his Kenyan father to travel to America on a student scholarship and thus meet his Kansan mother. The Camelot connection has become part of the mythology surrounding Obama's bid for the Democratic presidential nomination. After Caroline Kennedy endorsed his candidacy in January, Newsweek commentator Jonathan Alter reported that she had been struck by the extraordinary way in which "history replays itself" and by how "two generations of two families — separated by distance, culture and wealth — can intersect in strange and wonderful ways."It is a touching story — but the key details are either untrue or grossly oversimplified.Contrary to Obama's claims in speeches in January at American University and in Selma last year, the Kennedy family did not…

Operation chaos at the Texas Democrat conventions

Houston Chronicle:

Traffic jams, long lines, crowds, confusion and chaos marked Texas Democratic regional conventions Saturday as an unprecedented number of political activists turned out to help elect presidential nominating delegates for Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama. There are 67 at-large delegates at stake, depending mostly on the results of the state senatorial district and county conventions.Obama was the caucus winner on primary night, and an Associated Press delegate count showed he might be holding his ground.Obama's campaign late Saturday said he would win, claiming he would receive 38 delegates to Clinton's 29. Clinton's campaign says Obama should wait for the official results before declaring victory.If the Obama campaign prediction is accurate, that would give Obama a total five-delegate advantage over Clinton in the Texas primary/caucus contest...."It's going very good," state Senate District 17 Chairman Bert Anson said in the midst of…

Inadequate force to space ratio in Afghanistan

Washington Post:

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Since 2006, Garmsir and other parts of Helmand province have changed hands between the British and Taliban forces at least three times, largely because there have been too few British ground troops to hold captured territory. Despite Defense Minister John Reid's early hope that 3,000 British forces could pacify Helmand without "firing a shot," the British have lost 89 troops to fighting in the province, where violence surged 60 percent last year, testing NATO's ability to stabilize Afghanistan's ethnic Pashtun heartland. President Bush will attend a NATO summit this week where he hopes allies will pledge additional combat troops for Afghanistan. In Helmand, even an expanded British-led force of about 7,000 must now concentrate its efforts on the north, while the company in Garmsir controls a small segment of the southern front. "You can't hold it against them for wanting to repel the invaders," said Warrant Officer 2 Jason Mortim…