Showing posts from July, 2008

Evidence reveals ISI involvment in Kabul bombing

NY Times: American intelligence agencies have concluded that members of Pakistan ’s powerful spy service helped plan the deadly July 7 bombing of India ’s embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan , according to United States government officials. The conclusion was based on intercepted communications between Pakistani intelligence officers and militants who carried out the attack, the officials said, providing the clearest evidence to date that Pakistani intelligence officers are actively undermining American efforts to combat militants in the region. The American officials also said there was new information showing that members of the Pakistani intelligence service were increasingly providing militants with details about the American campaign against them, in some cases allowing militants to avoid American missile strikes in Pakistan’s tribal areas. Concerns about the role played by Pakistani intelligence not only has strained relations between the United States and Pakistan, a longtime al

A pill for bloggers

NY Times: Can you enjoy the benefits of exercise without the pain of exertion? The answer may one day be yes — just take a pill that tricks the muscles into thinking they have been working out furiously. Researchers at the Salk Institute report they have found two drugs that do wonders for the athletic endurance of couch potato mice. One drug, known as Aicar, increased the mice’s endurance on a treadmill by 44 percent after just four weeks of treatment. A second drug, GW1516, supercharged the mice to a 75 percent increase in endurance, but had to be combined with exercise to have any effect. “It’s a little bit like a free lunch without the calories ,” said Dr. Ronald M. Evans, leader of the Salk group. The results, Dr. Evans said, seem reasonably likely to apply to people, who control muscle tone with the same underlying genes as do mice. And if the drugs work and prove to be safe, they could be useful in a wide range of settings. ... Sign me up coach, I am ready to play.

Florida now supports offshore drilling

Bradenton Herald: With gas prices hovering at $4 a gallon, a majority of Floridians now support drilling for oil in protected areas offshore, according to a new poll. The survey finds support for drilling at 60 percent, with 10 percent of respondents telling pollsters that they opposed offshore drilling in the past. Thirty-six percent of respondents said they remain opposed to offshore drilling. The poll of 1,248 likely Florida voters was conducted July 23-29 by Quinnipiac University and has a margin of error of 2.8 percentage points. The same poll also shows John McCain narrowing Barack Obama's advantage in the state. Obama has a 46 percent lead to McCain's 44 percent, compared to a 47 to 43 percent lead for Obama in June. Pollsters suggest the numbers point to opportunity for McCain, who backs offshore oil exploration. Obama has opposed it. ... The poll suggest to me that many Obama supporters are not aware of his position on energy and how much electing him will lower their

Democrats cult of celebrity

Allahpundit : The “C-word” in question being — gasp — celebrity . It comes at around 10:45, but to get a fuller flavor of the exchange you should watch the first three or four minutes before skipping ahead to that point and then letting it play out. In Mitchell’s defense, Davis never quite gets to the crux of the “celebrity” jab; for that, see Lindsey Graham’s succinct description of the ad as being about “the idea of fame without portfolio.” Precisely. Or better still, go watch the old clips of Hannity playing stump the band with Democratic focus groups . The point isn ’t that Obama is spectacularly famous, it’s that his fame is out of all proportion to his actual accomplishments. It’s 95% image, a fact implicitly recognized in how easily his fans lapse into creepy iconography . But since McCain can’t call Obamamania what it really is — a benign cult of personality — he reached for the nearest, most innocuous synonym he could find. At the very least, “celebrity” is closer to the

The case for exploiting tar sands

Guardian: Shell warned environmentalists and ethical investors yesterday that failure to exploit tar sands and other unconventional oil products would worsen climate change because it would lead to the world burning even more carbon-heavy coal. Jeroen van der Veer, Shell's chief executive, said the world needed every kind of energy source it could find at a time of soaring demand. He said groups that had threatened to organise a ban on alternative fossil fuels should be careful because without unconventionals "the balancing fuel will be coal". Shell revealed that its tar sands operation had seen a 74% profit growth to $351m (£177m) in the second quarter, providing a relatively modest but important boost to total group profits of $7.9bn on a current cost of supplies basis. In the US, its rival ExxonMobil reported earnings of $11.7bn for the last quarter, the highest in US corporate history. The Co-op and the wildlife group WWF announced this week that they were calling a m

Many Democrats plan vote for McCain

Rasmussen Reports: Thirty percent (30%) of conservative Democrats say they’re voting for John McCain. Rasmussen Reports data also shows the Republican hopeful picking up support from 19% of White Democrats and 15% of Democrats over the age of 50. These results are from national telephone survey interviews conducted with 14,000 Likely Voters during the two weeks ending July 24. The sample includes 5,074 Democratic voters. The data shows that 43% of Democrats consider themselves politically liberal, 37% say they’re moderate, and 18% are conservative. Forty-one percent (41%) of conservative Democrats have a favorable opinion of John McCain. Sixty-seven percent (67%) say the same about Obama. Among liberal Democrats, just 23% have a positive opinion about McCain, but 90% give Obama favorable reviews. ... The poll seems to indicate that Democrat liberals believe Obama is one of them and conservative do not. The support for McCain indicates that Obama is still having trouble with the s

Good shot

Opfor has the story behind the picture. ... The ex-cheerleader (age 19) in the picture below, a USAF security force sniper, was watching a road that led to a NATO military base when she observed a man digging by the road. She engaged the target and shot him. Turned out he was a bomb maker and he was burying an IED that was to be detonated when a US patrol walked by 30 minutes later. It would have probably killed several soldiers, and wounded others as well. The interesting fact of this story is the shot was measured at 725 yards. She shot him as he was bent over burying the bomb. The shot struck him in the butt knocking him into the bomb which also detonated. ... I am not sure whether this really happened but if Kimmy did it, I am all for it.

Let me think about that

MNFI: A U.S. Army Soldier plays with Iraqi children during a patrol in Balad, Iraq, July 25, 2008. The Soldier is assigned to the 101st Airborne Division's Company A, 2nd Battalion, 327th Infantry Regiment. U.S. Air Force Photo By Staff Sgt. Micky M. Bazaldua. I find it interesting that the NY Times would recently run a story about the unavailability of photographs of troops in Iraq. Of course what they were looking for were images that show our guys losing and what pictures like this demonstrate is that a lot of Iraq boys look up to the US troops.

Pakistan's ISI accused to tipping targets

BBC: Pakistan says its intelligence agents have been accused by the US of alerting al-Qaeda linked militants before the US launches missile attacks against them. Defence Minister Ahmed Mukhtar said members of Inter-Services Intelligence were accused of "tipping off" militants before strikes in the tribal areas. Mr Mukhtar said that the Americans "mistrusted" the ISI. His unusual public admission of the rebuke seems to mark a new low in ties between the US and Pakistan's spies. Mr Mukhtar was speaking in Washington, where he is accompanying Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani on his first visit to the US. Speaking on Pakistan's Geo TV, he said the Americans had alleged that information about targets was being "leaked". "The burning issue of course is as to who controls the ISI," he said. "In their [the Americans'] view there are some people at some level in the ISI who tip off the Taleban at some level about impending missile attac

Palestinians in facial hair war

Jerusalem Post: Hamas has resumed its policy of shaving mustaches of political opponents to humiliate them, Fatah officials said Wednesday. Hamas resorted to this form of punishment in the past after arresting senior Fatah representatives in the Gaza Strip, the officials said. Hamas, for its part, accused the Palestinian Authority security forces of shaving the beards of detained Hamas officials in the West Bank. ... Namnam wore an unusually large mustache for more than 30 years. But while in prison, his Hamas interrogators shaved it off before finally releasing him. The Aksa Martyrs Brigades issued a statement strongly condemning the shaving of Namnam's mustache and threatening retaliation. It said that Namnam and his son were also tortured while in detention. Earlier this year, another senior Fatah official, Ibrahim Abu al-Naja, also lost his mustache in the power struggle with Hamas. ... This is what happens when facial hair becomes a symbol. If we were doing this at Gitmo I a

Sadr tries to use dwindling clout to kill status agreement

Miami Herald: Radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al Sadr on Wednesday offered full support for Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki's government if it refuses to sign an agreement President Bush has sought to allow semi-permanent stationing of U.S. troops in Iraq. Sadr warned at the same time that he would oppose any agreement between Iraq and the United States. Sadr's followers have abandoned active resistance in recent months, as Maliki's government has asserted its authority in military offensives around the country. Sadr's statement, posted Wednesday on his website, said that elements of his insurgency had erred in targeting fellow Iraqis and called for a centralized resistance directed only against U.S. occupiers. Declaring that resistance to an occupier ''is a legitimate right by human reason and in Islamic and human law,'' he called on Shiite clerics to ``issue their fatwas against signing any agreement between the government and the occupier, even if it is

Iraq progress means shorter tours for troops

NCT: President Bush declared progress in the Iraq war Thursday, saying terrorists "are on the run" and a generally improved security environment should permit further U.S. troop reductions. Standing on the Colonnade outside the Oval Office of the White House, Bush also announced that effective Thursday, the duration of troop tours in Iraq will be cut from 15 months to 12 months. Bush said this reduction "will relieve the burden on our forces and it will make life easier for our wonderful military families." The president's updated report on Iraq was delivered on short notice to the White House press corps and it came with the war in its sixth year and violence on the ground substantially decreased in recent weeks. He said that commanding Gen. David Petraeus and U.S. Ambassador Ryan Crocker, however, "caution that the progress is still reversible, and they report that there now appears to be a degree of durability to the gains that we have made." "

KSM refuses to testify for Hamden

Washington Post: The self-described mastermind of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks has refused to meet with attorneys for Osama bin Laden 's former driver and probably will not testify at the driver's military trial, the lawyers said Wednesday. Attorneys for the former driver, Salim Ahmed Hamdan , had sought the testimony of Khalid Sheik Mohammed and seven other detainees at the U.S. military prison here, in the belief they could exonerate Hamdan of terrorism conspiracy charges. Mohammed, the alleged Sept. 11 mastermind, has provided written answers to questions from Hamdan's attorneys. But Mohammed sent word to the defense that "he's not inclined to come to court," Harry Schneider, a lawyer for Hamdan, said at a hearing. "I see no value in trying to bring him forcibly to testify," Schneider said. He added that it is likely that Mohammed's written answers will be submitted to the jury instead. The development is a potential blow to Hamdan's

China insecurity on display at Olympics

AFP: A defiant China stood firm on controversies swirling around the Olympics on Thursday, hitting back at the United States over human rights criticism and insisting Internet censorship would remain. China's communist rulers responded sternly to critics following a storm of bad publicity this week surrounding their decision to renege on a pledge to allow unfettered Internet access to foreign reporters covering the Games. The decision highlighted long-standing concerns over the Chinese government 's attitude towards human rights, and led the White House to intervene by saying China had "nothing to fear" from the Internet. The Chinese foreign ministry reacted by criticising a meeting US President George W. Bush had with leading Chinese dissidents and describing some US lawmakers who spoke out on Beijing 's human rights record as "odious". "China asks the US to abide by the basic norms of international relation

GOP frame on Obama gains traction

Carrie Budoff Brown: Barack Obama’s critics laid down the foundations of the strategy months ago: The Republican National Committee started the “Audacity Watch” back in April, and Karl Rove later fueled the attack by describing the first-term Illinois senator as “coolly arrogant.” It wasn’t until the last week, however, that the narrative of Obama as a president-in-waiting - and perhaps getting impatient in that waiting - began reverberating beyond the e-mail inboxes of Washington operatives and journalists. Perhaps one of the clearest indications emerged Tuesday from the world of late-night comedy, when David Letterman offered his “Top Ten Signs Barack Obama is Overconfident.” The examples included Obama proposing to change the name of Oklahoma to “Oklobama,” and measuring his head for Mount Rushmore. “When Letterman is doing ‘Top Ten’ lists about something, it has officially entered the public consciousness,” said Dan Schnur, a political analyst with the University of Southern Calif

Oil discovered on Saturn moon, Dems to ban drilling

CNN has a story from the unquotable news agency on the discovery of lakes of liquid hydrocarbons on the surface of Titan. I made up the part about the Democrats banning drilling. Since the hydrocarbons are on the surface no drilling would be required. And, it would be imported oil which they favor over domestic oil, so they probably would not object that much.

Iraq is still an issue that can beat Obama

Karl Rove: In a race supposedly dominated by the economy, both Barack Obama and John McCain have spent a lot of time talking about Iraq. Why? Because both men have Iraq problems that are causing difficulties for their campaigns. How each candidate resolves his Iraq problems may determine who voters come to see as best qualified to set American foreign policy. If Mr. McCain wins the argument on Iraq, he will add to his greatest strength -- a perceived fitness to be commander in chief and lead the global war on terror. As the underdog, Mr. McCain needs to convince voters that he is overwhelmingly the better choice on the issue. Mr. Obama needs to win the argument because his greatest weakness is inexperience and a perceived unreadiness to be president. That's dangerous. Voters believe keeping America safe and strong is a president's most important responsibility. Mr. McCain's first Iraq problem is that he favored removing Saddam Hussein when it was popular -- 76% of Americ

Events overtake premise of Democrats on Iraq

Henry Kissinger: The U.S. presidential campaign has been so long and so intense that it seems to operate in a cocoon, oblivious to changes that should alter its premises. A striking example is the debate over withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq. Over the past year, many have proposed setting a deadline for withdrawal. Proponents have argued that a date certain would compel the Iraqi government to accelerate the policy of reconciliation; would speed the end of the war; and would enable the United States to concentrate its efforts on more strategically important regions, such as Afghanistan. Above all, they argued, the war was lost, and withdrawal would represent the least costly way to deal with the debacle. These premises have been overtaken by events. Almost all objective observers agree that major progress has been made on all three fronts of the Iraq war: Al-Qaeda, the Sunni jihadist force recruited largely from outside the country, seems on the run in Iraq; the indigenous Sunni

Al Qaeda leaders flee Iraq for Afghanistan

Washington Post: The leader of the Sunni insurgent group al-Qaeda in Iraq and several of his top lieutenants have recently left Iraq for Afghanistan , according to group leaders and Iraqi intelligence officials, a possible further sign of what Iraqi and U.S. officials call growing disarray and weakness in the organization. U.S. officials say there are indications that al-Qaeda is diverting new recruits from going to Iraq, where its fighters have suffered dramatic setbacks, to going to Afghanistan and Pakistan , where they appear to be making gains. "We do believe al-Qaida is doing some measure of re-assessment regarding the continued viability of its fight in Iraq and whether Iraq should remain the focus of its efforts," Brig. Gen. Brian Keller, senior intelligence officer for Gen. David H. Petraeus , the top American commander in Iraq, wrote in an e-mail. But Keller said that the reliability of indications that recruits have been diverted has "not yet been determin

Beer from land fill gas?

Houston Chronicle: Big beer is going green. Anheuser-Busch, the top U.S. beer seller, said today it will begin using landfill gas to help power its massive Houston brewery in a move designed to lower its soaring energy costs and keep beer prices from climbing higher. The St. Louis-based brewer will use the landfill gas to help run boilers that today are fueled by natural gas. When the landfill gas begins flowing into the plant later this year, about 70 percent of the brewery's energy needs will be met by renewable fuels, Anheuser-Busch officials said today during a Houston news conference announcing the initiative. "It's going to help us keep beer affordable," said Doug Muhleman, group vice president of brewing operations and technology at Anheuser-Busch. The beer maker will purchase the gas from Framingham, Mass-based energy firm Ameresco, which has a partnership with Houston landfill operator Allied Waste Services. The Houston brewery, the company's second

Cornyn request commutation of border agent sentences

Houston Chronicle: Under increasing pressure from congressional Republicans to free two imprisoned border patrol agents, President Bush is showing no sign of hurrying his decision. White House spokeswoman Dana Perino on Wednesday sidestepped a question about Texas Sen. John Cornyn's demand that Bush commute Ignacio Ramos' 12-year sentence and Jose Compean's 11-year term. The agents were convicted of charges arising from the shooting of an unarmed drug smuggler near El Paso, and their sentences were increased because they were found guilty of committing a crime with a firearm. "There is a process in which people in our country can ask a president of the United States for a commutation of their sentence," Perino told reporters, "and that process can take place if those individuals want it to." Cornyn, a San Antonio Republican, led an outpouring of conservative pressure on the White House this week after the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orlean

This was not hard to do

From Politico: Obama camp condemns Ludacris song I have to admit that I am not a fan and the only songs I have heard are those that others find objectionable

Who knew?

From the Washington Post: Number of Illegal Immigrants Falls After Crackdown Isn't that what proponents of enforcement said would happen?

Terror fight to go on after Iraq and Afghanistan are over

Washington Post: Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates says that even winning the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan will not end the "Long War" against violent extremism and that the fight against al-Qaeda and other terrorists should be the nation's top military priority over coming decades, according to a new National Defense Strategy he approved last month. The strategy document, which has not been released, calls for the military to master "irregular" warfare rather than focusing on conventional conflicts against other nations, though Gates also recommends partnering with China and Russia in order to blunt their rise as potential adversaries. The strategy is a culmination of Gates's work since he took over the Pentagon in late 2006 and spells out his view that the nation must harness both military assets and "soft power" to defeat a complex, transnational foe. "Iraq and Afghanistan remain the central fronts in the struggle, but we ca

Defining Obama down

NY Times: After spending much of the summer searching for an effective line of attack against Senator Barack Obama , Senator John McCain is beginning a newly aggressive campaign to define Mr. Obama as arrogant, out of touch and unprepared for the presidency. On Wednesday alone, the McCain campaign released a new advertisement suggesting — and not in a good way — that Mr. Obama was a celebrity along the lines of Britney Spears and Paris Hilton . Republicans tried to portray Mr. Obama as a candidate who believed the race was all about him, relying on what Democrats said was a completely inaccurate quotation. The Republican National Committee began an anti-Obama Web site called “Audacity Watch,” a play on the title of Mr. Obama’s book “The Audacity of Hope.” And, in a concerted volley of television interviews, news releases and e-mail, campaign representatives attacked him on a wide range of issues, including tax policies and energy proposals. The moves are the McCain campaign’s most fu

2/3rds of US support offshore drilling

CNN: Most Americans favor an increase in offshore oil drilling but the public is split over whether or not it would result in lower gas prices in the next year, according to a just-released CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll. More than two thirds of Americans say they favor increasing drilling efforts off America's costs while only 30 percent disapprove of such action. Those numbers come the same day President Bush publicly scolded Democratic congressional leaders for not putting his proposal to expand domestic oil drilling, specifically on the outer continental shelf, to a vote. ... The poll also shows Americans are divided when it comes to the effect of offshore drilling. Just over 50 percent think it will reduce gas prices while 49 percent say it will not. What this last number shows is that the Democrat argument that we will not get immediate relief still does not dissuade people from the necessity of drilling. The Democrats are in trouble on this issue and Nancy Pelosi is

Obama's airhead comment on inflation and oil

Power Line does the calculation. ... Just for fun, I did the math. Properly inflating your tires can improve gas mileage by 3%. Of course, many people already keep their tires properly inflated, and many more are at least close to being properly inflated. Let's be generous and assume that one-half of the total possible savings would be realized if we all inflated our tires properly; that's a net gain of 1.5% fuel efficiency. Americans drive approximately 2,880 billion miles per year . If we average 24 mpg, we use around 120 billion gallons of gasoline in our vehicles. If, through perfect tire inflation, we improved our collective fuel efficiency by 1.5%, that would be 1.8 billion gallons. A barrel of oil produces around 20 gallons of gasoline , so the total savings available through tire inflation is approximately 90,000,000 barrels of oil annually. How does this stack up against "all the oil that they're talking about getting off drilling?" ANWR: 10 bil

Brits running out of choppers

Independent: British forces are so short of helicopters in Afghanistan and Iraq that they are considering renting them from other countries, or even from the controversial US security contractor Blackwater. As a roadside bomb in Afghanistan's Helmand province claimed the life of another UK paratrooper, The Independent has learnt that the Ministry of Defence will hold a crisis meeting at 5pm today to discuss leasing helicopters from former Warsaw Pact countries as well as commercial companies. ... Nato, but not Britain directly, is believed to be negotiating with Blackwater, which has come under fierce criticism from the Iraqi government and the US Congress after 17 civilians were shot dead in Baghdad last year. Another option being explored by the MoD is leasing Cougar helicopters from oil companies involved in offshore production. Two more soldiers were killed this week in Helmand, bringing the British death toll in Afghanistan to 114, with 340

Ancient Greek computer predicted eclipses

Daily Mail: The world's oldest calculator - a box of dials, gears and cogs created by the Ancient Greeks more than 2,000 years ago - could predict eclipses decades in advance, say researchers. The Antikythera Mechanism, recovered from a Roman shipwreck more than a century ago, was also used to record the four-yearly cycle of the original Olympic Games. It was created around 100BC and previous studies have shown that it was used to chart the movement of planets and the passing of days and years. X-ray scans have now shown that it could predict eclipses, and was used to record important events in the Greek calendar, says the scientific journal Nature. Astronomer Professor Mike Edmunds of Cardiff University said: 'It is more complex than any other known device for the next 1,000 years.' 'We knew that this 2,100-year-old ancient Greek mechanism calculated complex cycles of mathematical astronomy,' said Dr Tony Freeth, of London-based Images First, a former research math

Saudi sex verdict leads to cruel and unusual punishment

Daily Mail: A Saudi man is facing 600 lashes and his 'lover' 350 after a phone-sex affair that led to the woman's divorce. Today a Saudi appeals court upheld a jail and flogging verdict against the biochemist and his female student whose research contact was ruled to be a front for the affair. The biochemist, Khalid Zahrani, said today that he found out this week from the court offices that three judges had approved the verdict. He was sentenced last year to eight months in prison and 600 lashes and his student to four months in prison and 350 lashes for establishing a telephone relationship that the court said led her to divorce her husband. The man said the only recourse left to him was the Supreme Judicial Council, a court of cassation that only views cases if requested by the king. He also hopes for intervention from the government's Human Rights Commission. ... As I recall the case the two parties to the call say the conversations were work related and the charges

Hacker in tears at thought of US trial

Scotsman: THE Scottish mother of Gary McKinnon, the computer hacker who yesterday lost his appeal against extradition to the United States, is terrified her son will now die in prison. Mr McKinnon, 42, described as the "biggest military hacker of all time", faces up to 70 years in jail if convicted in the US of sabotaging vital defence systems. ... Lawyers for Mr McKinnon, who was born in Glasgow but lives in Enfield, north London, pointed out that he could be sent to Guantanamo Bay as a terrorist suspect – despite his insistence that he had accessed military computers looking for information about UFOs. Last night, his mother, Janis Sharp, 59, a composer and musician, said her unemployed son had burst into tears when told the news. She said: "I am terrified, absolutely terrified, that he will be locked up for 60 or 70 years for a crime that would get him community services or, at the most, two years in Britain. "We are all very upset, as this is our worst

Rand gets the case for lawfare wrong

Richard Fernandez examines the recent Ran report critical of waging war against al Qaeda and suggesting that the lawfare approach is the most likely way to destroy al Qaeda. They come to this conclusion by using lawfare metrics to measure warfare. They also overlook the abject failure of lawfare in dealing with al Qaeda before 2001. Lawfare by necessity puts you on the strategic defensive. It is reactive. The indictments against bin Laden troubled him not at all. He continued to build his organization and continued to make war against us. Lawfare did provide him with certain advantages such as pretrial discovery in the Embassy Bombing cases which let al Qaeda know our sources and methods of gathering intelligence so they could avoid them in executing the 9-11 attacks. Rand's over reliance on the violence metric is a mistake in a war where both sides are initiating attacks. It devalues the importance of who controls the real estate and who has the support of the people. As R

White collar pink slips hit big law firms

Dan Slater: This morning, the partnership of Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft is slated to inform 96 lawyers — a group spanning from first-year associates to counsel — that they will be laid off. 90 of the 96 cuts will come out of the real estate finance and securitization practices, said the firm’s chairman, Chris White . Most of the affected lawyers, said White, are in the New York, Charlotte and London offices, with “one or two” in Washington. The 96 layoffs are in addition to the 35 lawyers the firm laid off in January. Last evening, White, and the head of Cadwalader’s litigation practice, Greg Markel , invited the Law Blog to a 40th floor conference room, where they explained the move. White said that real estate finance and securitization — areas that he referred to, alternatively, but not necessarily inconsistently, as “discrete areas of the firm” and “a large part of the practice” — grew “very rapidly” over the past five years, focusing principally in the area of commerci

Democrats answer on energy

Lisa Benson (no relation) captures the moment we haven't been waiting for. Click on the image for a larger view. Hat tip to the Texas Insider.

Trip did not move voters toward Obama

Rasmussen Reports: Voters view Barack Obama’s highly publicized trip to Europe and the Middle East last week as a complete wash from a political standpoint, according to a new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey. Twenty-four percent (24%) of voters say the trip makes them more likely to vote for the Democratic candidate, while virtually the same number (23%) say it makes them less likely to vote for him. This is consistent with data from the Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll which shows that Obama’s brief Berlin bounce has vanished and there has been little change in the race following the trip. Over half (52%) say the trip – despite saturation media coverage including one-on-one interviews with the anchors for the three major television networks – will have no impact on their votes at all. (The idea that the media is trying to help Obama win in November has grown by five percentage points over the past month). Interestingly, while Democrats and Republi

The Obama energy plan

Scrappleface parody: Presumptive U.S. President Barack Obama today announced his plan to “end America’s dependence on foreign oil, dirty coal and dangerous nuclear power by unleashing new technology that will tap a recently-discovered source of renewable energy.” According to an outline of the plan, Sen. Obama’s own “personal power and magnetic energy” will form the core of an entirely new system for keeping the lights on and the wheels rolling across the nation. ... He must be the one we have been waiting for, but why wait until he is in office to produce electricity?

Pakistan army kills 50 Taliban in Swat area

Bill Roggio: The Pakistani Army claimed 48 Taliban fighters, including 10 senior Swat leaders, were killed in a major battle in the settled district of the Northwest Frontier Province. Five Pakistani soldiers were also reported killed. The Taliban refuted the claims of heavy casualties, but confirmed one leader was killed in the fighting. "We have inflicted heavy losses on the militants,” a military spokesman told GEO TV . “We have video footage showing bodies of the militants killed in the fighting." The Pakistani military has inflated enemy casualties in the past while downplaying their losses. Muslim Khan, a Taliban spokesman for Swat leader Mullah Fazlullah, denied the Taliban took heavy casualties. He did confirm that Maulvi Hussain Ali, a Taliban commander who is also known as Toor Mullah, was killed in the fighting. The battle began after a force of 70 Taliban fighters surrounded and attacked a security outpost in the Matta subdistrict in Swat. The Pakistani mil

Saudi sex cops outlaw pets

AFP: Saudi Arabia's religious police have announced a ban on selling cats and dogs as pets, or walking them in public in the Saudi capital, because of men using them as a means of making passes at women, an official said on Wednesday. ... What a depressing place to live. It appears there are no steps these guys will not stoop to to steal joy.

Celebrity candidate

It is a good ad. The subtle connection to Brittany Spears and Paris Hilton tied with the inexplicable Obama positions on energy and taxes is pretty cool.

Fairness doctrine and Obama

While the Democrats have made an issue out of reimposing the fairness doctrine to shut down Rush Limbaugh and talk radio a good Republican counter attack would be to suggest that the doctrine be applied to the media's Obama campaign which is forcing about two or three times as much attention on the Obama campaign as the McCain campaign. It is time for McCain to demand equal time under the proposed Democrat regulations. I want to make it clear that I oppose the fairness doctrine and this proposal is merely to expose to Democrats the dangers they will loose with their plan.

Iraq casualties lowest since 2003

Reuters: The number of U.S. soldiers killed in combat in Iraq has dropped sharply in July and the monthly total is likely to be the lowest since the U.S.-led invasion of the country in 2003. Five U.S. soldiers have been killed in combat in Iraq so far in July compared to 66 in the same month last year, according to the independent website , which keeps records of U.S. military losses in the conflict. The drop underscores the dramatic fall in violence in Iraq to lows not seen since early 2004. Seeking to build on those gains, thousands of Iraqi security forces launched a major operation in northeastern Diyala province on Tuesday. Al Qaeda has sought to stoke tensions in religiously mixed Diyala, which lies close to Baghdad. ... Come on Democrats admit you were dead wrong to vote against the surge 60 times last year. You have nominated a guy who got it just backwards and is trying to slip and blip his way out of admitting that he and the Democrats

The clout of the energy hate groups

Walter Williams: Let's face it. The average individual American has little or no clout with Congress and can be safely ignored. But it's a different story with groups such as Environmental Defense Fund, Sierra Club and The Nature Conservancy. When they speak, Congress listens. Unlike the average American, they are well organized, loaded with cash and well positioned to be a disobedient congressman's worse nightmare. Their political and economic success has been a near disaster for our nation. For several decades, environmentalists have managed to get Congress to keep most of our oil resources off-limits to exploration and drilling. They've managed to have the Congress enact onerous regulations that have made refinery construction impossible. Similarly, they've used the courts and Congress to completely stymie the construction of nuclear power plants. As a result, energy prices are at historical highs and threaten our economy and national security. What's the