Friday, January 25, 2008
TALLIL, Iraq, Jan. 22, 2008 – Of the nearly 3,800 projects the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Gulf Region Division has completed across Iraq in four years, one stands out because of the special challenges it posed.
About 80 percent of the labor for the Amarah project came from the area, with more than 500 workers a day on site during the peak construction period, which lasted more than a year.
Last February I was in Fallujah at the start of the surge, and when I asked soldiers if they thought we were winning the war they almost universally rolled their eyes, and gave me some version of "Yea, right" for being dumb enough to even be asking the question. [snip]
Ten months later I toured the Air Force Theater Hospital in Balad with Col. Patrick Storm, the hospital commander, and he shared some amazing statistics with me. [>] [snip]
Now when I talk to soldiers there is definitely a new sense of optimism that was non-existent just 10 months ago. Nobody thinks the war will be over soon, but most people are coming to believe that it's winnable.
One of the most striking signs of progress to me is the number of Iraqis that wave at our helicopters as we fly over.
Islamic courts meet every week in the UK to rule on divorces and financial disputes. Clare Dwyer Hogg and Jonathan Wynne-Jones report on demands by senior Muslims that sharia be given legal authority.
It is one of dozens of sharia courts - also known as councils - that have been set up in mosques, Islamic centers and even schools across Britain. The number of British Muslims using the courts is increasing.
At Rumsfeld's first post-Pentagon public comments at a conference today on network centric warfare sponsored by the Institute for Defense and Government Advancement, he said that the United States is losing the war of ideas in the Muslim world, and the answer to that, in part, is through the creation of this new government agency.
"Private media does not get up in the morning and say what can we do to promote the values and ideas that the free Western nations believe in. It gets up in the morning and says they're going to try to make money by selling whatever they sell... The way they decided to do that is to be dramatic and if it bleeds it leads is the common statement in the media today.In Rumsfeld's view, the free press can co-exist with government sponsored/produced/paid news. "It doesn't mean we have to infringe on the role of the free press, they can go do what they do, and that's fine," says Rumsfeld. "Well, it's not fine, but it's what it is, let's put it that way."
We need someone in the United States, some entity, that would take advantage of the wonderful opportunities that exist today. There are multiple channels for information . . . The Internet is there, pods are there, talk radio is there, e-mails are there. There are all kinds of opportunities. We do not with any systematic organized way attempt to engage the battle of ideas and talk about the idea of beheading, and what it's about and what it means. And talk about the fact that people are killing more Muslims than they are non-Muslims, these extremists. They're doing it with suicide bombs and the like. We need to engage and not simply be passive and allow that battle of competition of ideas."
Strasbourg - A French lesbian was discriminated against when authorities refused to allow her to adopt a child, Europe's [?] human right court ruled on Tuesday. The European Court of Human Rights said the refusal by regional authorities, upheld by two French courts, to authorize the adoption request breached the woman's rights because it appeared motivated by her sexual orientation. It granted her €24 500 in damages and court expenses.
["regional authorities"; French judges in France. And so the consumption of sovereignties continues in Europa ]
The current turmoil on world markets indicates a "significant shift of power and influence" from the US to emerging economic giants such as China and India, international financier George Soros said Wednesday....
"I'm not looking for a worldwide recession. I'm looking for a significant shift of power and influence away from the US in particular and a shift in favour of the developing world, particularly China,"Soros said. Soros, who made 1 billion US dollars betting on the devaluation of the British pound in 1992.
Technology indicators A new study of worldwide technological competitiveness suggests China may soon rival the United States as the principal driver of the world’s economy – a position the U.S. has held since the end of World War II. If that happens, it will mark the first time in nearly a century that two nations have competed for leadership as equals [*].
The study’s indicators predict that China will soon pass the United States in the critical ability to develop basic science and technology, turn those developments into products and services – and then market them to the world.
[*We will not be 'equals'. We can no longer afford to tax and regulate our industry in isolation - it will lead to oblivion in the global economy. First step: changing to a consumption tax vs. taxing our industry TWICE for all exports, when all other developed countries pay ZERO (are refunded by their governments)]
Spending on the state's landmark health insurance initiative would rise by more than $400 million next year, representing one of the largest increases in the $28.2 billion state budget the governor proposed yesterday. State and federal taxpayers are expected to bear nearly all of the additional cost.
[now who could have seen that coming - and the years after?]
A tax called 'No Child Left Inside' has been backed by New Mexico's Sierra Club, an environmental and outdoor preservation group. The proposed one-percent sales tax on video games and televisions is aimed at funding outdoor classroom initiatives and encouraging New Mexico's increasingly obese and diabetic youth to get off the couch and explore the great outdoors.
[we're turning the government into our parents - worse still: your children's parents]
The study by researchers at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Miami Lab and the University of Miami postulated that global warming may actually decrease the number of hurricanes that strike the United States. Warming waters may increase vertical wind speed, or wind shear, cutting into a hurricane's strength. The study focused on observations rather than computer models, which often form the backbone of global warming studies, and on the records of hurricanes over the past century, researchers.
Here we have the humiliating spectacle of a president of the United States begging an Arab potentate to increase our supply of oil while Democrats, who bear the major responsibility for the problem, scoff at him as a mendicant groveling at the feet of a foreign monarch. (Snip)
Make no mistake about it, you are paying exorbitant prices at the gas pump solely because the environmental terrorists and their Democrat allies in Congress have all but shut down our domestic oil production...
In this special edition of Frontpage Symposium, we have invited a distinguished panel to discuss the myth and reality of immigration. Today our three guests are the co-authors of the new book, The Immigration Solution: A Better Plan Than Today's: Heather MacDonald, a John M. Olin fellow at the Manhattan Institute and a contributing editor to City Journal.
[longish, but recommended for its statistics > http://www.frontpagemag.com/Articles/Read.aspx?GUID=294A76DD-607D-4FCC-9DAD-375297E8A522 ]
THE most important number concerning the U.S. economy is also the least discussed one in this week's panic over the U.S. economy - 4.9 percent. That is the current rate of growth in the economy as measured by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. That is the growth for the third quarter 2007.
Far from being in a recession, as defined by two consecutive quarters in which gross domestic product contracts, the American economy is growing.
Preliminary results for the fourth quarter will not be released for another week. I seriously doubt the growth continued at that rate. But my bet is that the economy grew in the months of October, November and December 2007. Retail sales in December were up.
The politicians in Washington are saying that we have to avoid a slowdown in the economy. That is absurd. A $14 trillion economy does not need 4.9 percent annual growth to succeed. As long as growth outpaces inflation, no one in Washington should care. And even if it does not, Washington should mind its own business. It has done enough damage already.
But the view from Washington is that the American people are all a bunch of children who need to be protected and baby-fed rebates and the like in order to survive.
It is goo-goo economics.
The media does not help. With the war going well in Iraq, news people are looking for bad news. And bad economic news is easy to find. There is always someone who "cannot" pay his bills. Someone is always losing his job. Someone's business always fails. But the science of economics deals with macro numbers, and those are being ignored. Why?
Pope Benedict XVI today said the media were too often used irresponsibly to spread "violence and vulgarity" and impose "distorted models" of social and family life. He urged the world's communicators instead to adopt what he called "info-ethics". In a message for the Roman Catholic Church's World Communications Day, Pope Benedict said the media often sought to create reality rather than report it, with agendas dictated by "the dominant interests" of the day. "This is what happens when communication is used for ideological purposes...
[ouch. ethics lecture from the head of the Catholic church - what's that say...]
'I decided to die like a man', says tycoon who took on 'armed gang who threatened to kill his daughter'
A millionaire yesterday told how he fought off three armed burglars who were holding a knife to his daughter's throat, saying he "would rather die like a man than a dog". Bernard Dwyer, 51, was convinced he and his family were about to be killed so he chose to take on the men - hours after they had allegedly killed a restaurant owner, a court heard.
[Recommended - one of those 'wow' stories > http://www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/live/articles/news/news.html?in_article_id=509962&in_page_id=1770 ]
Times defends hiring conservative Kristol
The New York Times’ hiring of Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol to write for its op-ed page caused a frenzy in the liberal blogosphere Friday night, with threats of canceling subscriptions and claims that the Gray Lady had been hijacked by neo-cons. But Times editorial page editor Andy Rosenthal sees things differently. Rosenthal told Politico shortly after the official announcement Saturday that he fails to understand “this weird fear of opposing views.”
[funny: he's to write one piece a week - thus is the liberal definition of conservative 'hijacking']