Monday, April 30, 2007
Good News In Anbar
Just as the Democrats have raised the white flag on Iraq, the New York Times reports that the surge strategy has started paying off in Anbar. Shops have reopened, people have moved back, and everyone's challenging the insurgents except Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi (via Memeorandum):
Anbar Province, long the lawless heartland of the tenacious Sunni Arab resistance, is undergoing a surprising transformation. Violence is ebbing in many areas, shops and schools are reopening, police forces are growing and the insurgency appears to be in retreat.
"Many people are challenging the insurgents," said the governor of Anbar, Maamoon S. Rahid, though he quickly added, "We know we haven’t eliminated the threat 100 percent."
Many Sunni tribal leaders, once openly hostile to the American presence, have formed a united front with American and Iraqi government forces against Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia. With the tribal leaders’ encouragement, thousands of local residents have joined the police force. About 10,000 police officers are now in Anbar, up from several thousand a year ago. During the same period, the police force here in Ramadi, the provincial capital, has grown from fewer than 200 to about 4,500, American military officials say.
At the same time, American and Iraqi forces have been conducting sweeps of insurgent strongholds, particularly in and around Ramadi, leaving behind a network of police stations and military garrisons, a strategy that is also being used in Baghdad, Iraq’s capital, as part of its new security plan. (link to NYT's complete story)
In the comment section under Ed's post the battle lines are drawn up early between the defeatist on the left and many on the right that have not given up on the people of Iraq or the quest for solvency in the region. A regular that calls him/herself conservative democrat sets the pace of the conversation:
"Since the day the Democrats voted to end our quagmire in Iraq all these positive stories suddenly appear. If I see a few months of positive stories I will change my opinion of this long fiasco. Plus I will need to see Maliki share the oil revenues, reverse the de-baathification policies and amend the constitution, all steps to get the Sunnis to join the political process. One thing I will never forget is how the rightwingers(not you Captain,you've always been fair) questioned my patriotism. I will never forget that Joseph McCarthy tactic."
Posted by: conservative democrat
"CD, I was actually pleasantly surprised to see your comments here. When progress is reported, most dissenters here go into hiding or we get alot of, "yea, buts".
So as long as we're winning, we have your support. Thanks. Everyone loves a winner. It's when things get tough that we need your help though. Are you prepared to stand for your Country when things get tough again, as they will and do in war?
I've believed in the mission almost from day one. The Mission being a 180 deg. detour of all prior Administrations' support of ME tyrants as long as they were our tyrants. This is not a 5-10 year battle. This will take a generation or two.
Our troops need the backing of Winter Patriots. So your affronted that people here question your patriotism. You've revealed to all here the kind of patriot you are, a sunshine patriot. Well, we've got too many of those.
Posted by: SoldiersMom
Conservative democrat -- Suddenly you are impressed by the 'unexpected' good news coming out of Iraq.
You had every opportunity to hear about this first hand from the men (and women) involved in making it happen for the last five years, just as we had. This war has been unprecedented in the direct access of the American people to the troops and workers in the field via the internet.
Yet from your posts, you seem to have been perfectly content to swallow your filtered news from the media and the Democratic party. Did you ever make the slightest effort to see for yourself if what they told you was correct or honest?
If you don't want your patriotism questioned, you shouldn't parrot the talking points of people who don't have any.
Posted by: richard mcenroe
"I don't know which is better news: that things are looking up a bit in Anbar, or that the NYT is actually reporting it. If the security situation continues to improve, I predict that Grand Admiral Reid and Commissar Pelosi will take credit. You know: "Thanks to our tough policy, we've managed to pull Iraq from the quagmire. Time to start planning for V-I Day!"
SoldiersMom nails it about "sunshine patriots". Think about it: if Grand Admiral Reid, Commissar Pelosi, Field Marshall al-Murtha and the rest of the Benedict Arnolds had their way, we would never have heard about this because the surge never would have taken place because we'd have left long before now. al-Iraqi, instead of languishing in a cell in Gitmo (where his civil rights are no doubt being violated... and where the ACLU is tirelessly working to get him freed), would be planning more bombings like those he apparently masterminded in London. Zarqawi might still even be alive, planning attacks against US interests abroad or perhaps recruiting another group of loonies to stage attacks against us here at home. I can't know for certain, of course, but I expect that spending so much time running for his life might have upset his ability to plan grand attacks against us just a little bit.
If we win in Iraq, it will be due solely to the courage and skill of the men and women of our armed forces (God bless 'em!), the courage and determination of the Iraqi people... and the perseverance of George Bush.
conservative quisling wrote (April 29, 2007 04:49 PM):
Plus I will need to see Maliki share the oil revenues, reverse the de-baathification policies and amend the constitution, all steps to get the Sunnis to join the political process.
Wow. Didn't the Cap'n post about moving the goal posts just the other day? What will the quislings set as the next goal posts? That Iraqis give up smoking, stop eating trans fats, drive hybrid cars, sign Kyoto, and recognize homosexual marriage?
"There were six traffic accidents in Baghdad last week! QUAGMIRE! FAILURE! BUSH'S FAULT!!!!"
One thing I will never forget is how the rightwingers(not you Captain,you've always been fair) questioned my patriotism. I will never forget that Joseph McCarthy tactic.
Yeah, I'm sure that Benedict Arnold, Jefferson Davis, Julius Rosenberg, Alger Hiss and Jane Fonda didn't like people saying bad things about them, either. I mean, just because a person sells out our country is no excuse to call them names, is it?
Come to think of it, I'm sure all us "chickenhawks" and "reichwingers" have had our fill of lefty McCarthyist namecalling. And I'd hate to think how Bush and Cheney deal with the steady stream of vicious hatred that comes their way every single day.
Posted by: docjim505
JR565 gets a little less polite on CD's comment:
With all due respect to CD, awww, people questioned your patriotism which you likened to Mccarthyism. Meanwhile whole movements have embraced the truth that somehow GW Bush had a hand in blowing up planes to start a war, that he and Cheney were in league with Osama, that he deliberately was negligent in the big easy because he hates black people, some went even further saying that someone (most likely tied to the administration) actually blew up the levees in N.O. because of, I guess, racial animus. Your side has caused conservatives chicken hawks, war mongers, nazis, neo cons as if it were a sneer. And you're mad because some people question your patriotism. I suppose you also say that it was Bush and not those who would say he went to war because of his daddy, because of a nonexistent pipeline in afghanistan,that he's a boy king, that he's trying to bring about theocracy, that he's Hitler reincarnated. Should I go on, or do you get the picture. The amount of demagoguery and falsehood and smear, and slander, and lack of patriotism from your side of the aisle is enough to make professional demagogues, and slanderers and rapscallions to blush and feel inadequate. Go cry me a river you hypocrite.
Posted by: jr565
(Read all the comment here)
Friday, April 27, 2007
The San Francisco Giants looked like Sports Illustrated had called it right in their pre-season prediction when the season began, going 2-7 in the first nine games which included only winning two of six against their new division rivals, (San Diego) and getting swept, (0-3) in the middle of this stretch by their longtime rivals the Los Angeles Dodgers.
SI had predicted SF to come in dead last in their division, and by the 11th of April, who could have argued. SF was in last place.
But some one woke up these sleeping Giants. Since winning the first game in Pittsburg and getting rained out the next three, and splitting a pair in Colorado, the Giants have been the best team in the majors completing their eight game winning streak with a sweep of the Dodgers at Chevez Ravine putting the Giants in first place in the National League West.
Timely and clutch hitting complemented by a pitching staff and a defense that has become stingy with passing out runs, the Giants have gone from pitiful to stellar in just a few short weeks.
With starter Russ Ortiz struggling last night, (allowing 10 Dodgers on base in the first three innings), the Giants found themselves down by only a 3-0 deficit. The Giants held the Dodgers scoreless for the next five innings while scratching out three of their own, tieing the game in the sixth, and going ahead in the eighth with two more. Armando Benitez sent the Dodgers to their fourth loss in a row in the bottom of the ninth to pick up the Giants eighth straight win.
While the Giants may very well finish last in the NL West, it appears (for now) their going to go down swinging........and winning. Welcome to the top you Giants, you've earned it.
Tuesday, April 24, 2007
I thought his speech yesterday was unfortunate, that his comments were uninformed and misleading. Senator Reid has taken many positions on Iraq. He has threatened that if the President vetoes the current pending supplemental legislation, that he will send up Senator Russ Feingold's bill to de-fund Iraq operations altogether.
Yet only last November, Senator Reid said there would be no cutoff of funds for the military in Iraq. So in less than six months' time, Senator Reid has gone from pledging full funding for the military, then full funding but with conditions, and then a cutoff of funding — three positions in five months on the most important foreign policy question facing the nation and our troops.
Yesterday, Senator Reid said the troop surge was against the recommendations of the Iraq Study Group. That is plainly false. The Iraq Study Group report was explicitly favorable toward a troop surge to secure Baghdad. Senator Reid said there should be a regional conference on Iraq. Apparently, he doesn't know that there is going to be one next week. Senator Reid said he doesn't have real substantive meetings with the President. Yet immediately following last week's meeting at the White House, he said, "It was a good exchange; everyone voiced their considered opinion about the war in Iraq."
What's most troubling about Senator Reid's comments yesterday is his defeatism. Indeed, last week, he said the war is already lost. And the timetable legislation that he is now pursuing would guarantee defeat.
Maybe it's a political calculation. Some Democratic leaders seem to believe that blind opposition to the new strategy in Iraq is good politics. Senator Reid himself has said that the war in Iraq will bring his party more seats in the next election. It is cynical to declare that the war is lost because you believe it gives you political advantage. Leaders should make decisions based on the security interests of our country, not on the interests of their political party.
Philly Struggles With Rising Murder Rate
By KATHY MATHESON
Associated Press Writer
PHILADELPHIA (AP) -- A bloody, bullet-filled weekend left 11 people dead across the city, where drugs and disrespect have trumped brotherly love and the murder rate is on pace to be the highest in a decade. Philadelphia has seen more than one killing a day this year, totaling 127 as of Monday afternoon.
New York, Chicago and Los Angeles - whose populations are much larger than Philadelphia's 1.5 million residents - have had fewer homicides this year.
The spike over the weekend was partly blamed on the first warm weather of the season. But rain or shine, Philadelphia police say the chronic problems remain the same: poverty, lax gun laws and a culture of intimidation that keeps witnesses silent and leaves shooters on the streets.
"It's the community's decision right now," Capt. Benjamin Naish said. "They are the people that must stand up and get angry and say, 'Enough is enough.'
They have, in a way. But the countless candlelight vigils, anti-violence rallies and community meetings have done nothing to stop the murder rate, which is 17 percent higher than last year at this time.
Officials, too, are at wit's end.
"Do something!" District Attorney Lynne Abraham admonished Mayor John Street at one news conference.
Abraham and others have criticized Street for a perceived lack of urgency in responding to violence that killed 406 city residents last year - a nine-year high.............(link)
While Harry Reid and the left-loonies talk about the carnage in Iraq, and have surrendered to our enemies, Americans may want to look no further than our own back yard, (Philly), where the murder rate, (per capita), puts the Iraqi violence to shame. The carnage in Philly is as complex as in Iraq. Domestic and political solutions have failed miserably. If it wasn't against the constitution, maybe the Dems would know right where to re-deploy our troops.
My good friend Dana, (Common Sense Political Thought) who lives in the Philly area has posted several articles on the continuing disaster in Philly here and here, and I have probably missed many more. I will look forward to his input.
Monday, April 23, 2007
Lawmakers Want to Close Gaps in Gun Laws
By BEN FELLER
WASHINGTON (AP) - Grappling with the deadliest shooting spree in U.S. history, lawmakers said Sunday they want to eliminate a gap between state and federal laws that can allow someone with a history of mental illness to buy guns.
Members of Congress have shown little political appetite, however, for attempting to expand federal gun control in response to the massacre at Virginia Tech.
"The scum of the earth"(my edit), who gunned down 32 people on campus and killed himself Monday, was evaluated at a psychiatric hospital in late 2005 and deemed by a judge to present "an imminent danger to himself as a result of mental illness." That should have disqualified him from purchasing a gun under federal law, experts say.
But Virginia court officials insist that because the judge ordered only outpatient treatment - and did not commit "the scum" (my edit) to a psychiatric hospital - they were not required to submit the information to be entered in the federal databases for background checks...........
Databases are fine and dandy, but they are only as good as the people who process the data. Also, putting this responsibility into the hands of medical professionals will not be welcomed by an already understaffed and unqualified industry that may be asked to commit otherwise treatable patients through outcare facilities. If the Virginia courts change the law to include non-committed patients to the listing into federal databases, this puts the onus on the doctors, which will open up civil litigation for patients seeking mental help, but are not a threat to themselves or society. With the liability insurance woes already burdening the medical industry, the APA, (American Psychiatric Association), will hardly welcome these responsibilities.
However, while we struggle with the dilemma of how to keep firearms out of the hands of those who would take lives, I still submit that if a few extremely qualified persons were allowed carry, or had access to a gun on campus, they may have limited the amount of deaths by a madman who slipped through the cracks. Leaving so many students defenseless with no recourse makes little sense.
Thursday, April 19, 2007
Thursday, April 19, 2007 8:22 am (pacific time)
Fox News has just proclaimed that they will no longer broadcast any of the videos submitted to NBC by the scum of the earth.
Tuesday, April 17, 2007
Virginia Tech Police Identify Shooter as South Korean Student
BLACKSBURG, Va. — The gunman responsible for at least the second of the two Virginia Tech attacks that claimed 33 lives to become the deadliest shooting rampage in U.S. history has been identified Cho Seung-Hui, a campus student and native of South Korea, Virginia Tech police said Tuesday.
Virginia Tech Police Chief Wendell Flinchum said the shooter was a 23-year-old resident alien who was an undergraduate senior English major. He had a residence in Centreville, Va., but was also living on campus in Harper Hall.
The following is a timeline of events surrounding a massacre in which 32 people were killed on the Virginia Tech campus.
Virginia Tech Police Department (VT PD) receives a 911 call to respond to a dormitory room at West Ambler Johnston Residence Hall.Within minutes, Virginia Tech Police and Virginia Tech Rescue Squad respond to find two gunshot victims, a male and a female, inside a dormitory room within the Hall.The residence hall was immediately secured by VT PD and students within the hall were notified and asked to remain in their rooms for their safety. VT PD immediately secured the room for evidence collection and began questioning dorm residents and identifying potential witnesses. In the preliminary stages of the investigation, it was believed the deaths were an isolated incident, domestic in nature.Blacksburg Police Department were also on scene assisting VT PD with establishing a safety perimeter around the residence hall and securing Washington Street.
Investigators were following up on leads concerning a person of interest in relation to the double homicide. Investigators from VT PD and Blacksburg PD were actively following up on various leads.
Virginia Tech Leadership Team, which includes the university president, executive vice president, and provost, assembled to begin assessing the developing situation at the residence hall and determining a means of notifying students of the homicide.
Leadership Team was briefed on the situation by VT PD Chief W.R. Flinchum on the latest developments in the ongoing investigation at the residence hall.
The Virginia Tech community – all faculty and students – were notified by e-mail of the homicide investigation and scene at West Ambler Johnston Residence Hall, and asked to report any suspicious activity to. The Virginia Tech Emergency/Weather Line recordings were also transmitted and a broadcast telephone message was made to campus phones. A press release was drafted and posted on the Virginia Tech Website.
The VT PD received a 911 call of a shooting at Norris Hall, which contains faculty offices, classrooms and laboratories. VT PD and Blacksburg PD immediately responded to Norris Hall. Notice in leadership command center via our police rep of a shooting in Norris.Upon arrival to Norris Hall, the officers found the front doors barricaded. Within a minute the officers breached the doors, which had been chained shut from the inside. Once inside the building, the officers heard gunshots. They followed the succession of gunshots to the second floor. Just as the officers reached the second floor, the gunshots stopped. The officers discovered the gunman, who had taken his own life. There was never any engagement between the responding officers and the gunman.
By the same means as prior notice, Virginia Tech notified campus community of the second murder scene. Other notifications followed via other means.
Source: Virginia Tech
Captain's Quarters has two post up with comments here and here
Curt at Flopping Aces has this post up with many links
Senseless and tragic are some of the words that are used to describe this. As a "civilized" society, these are the times that we are tested. Understanding and prevention come to the fore, and opinions are not in short supply. I pray for the families of the stricken. May they, in time, find some semblance of peace.
Friday, April 13, 2007
CBS Fires Don Imus Over Racial Slur
Dismissal Caps Week Of Uproar Over Radio Host's Comments About Rutgers Women's Basketball Team
(CBS/AP) CBS announced Thursday that it has fired Don Imus from his radio program, following a week of uproar over the radio host's derogatory comments about the Rutgers women's basketball team. "There has been much discussion of the effect language like this has on our young people, particularly young women of color trying to make their way in this society," CBS President and Chief Executive Officer Leslie Moonves said in announcing the decision.
Bryan Monroe, president of the National Association of Black Journalists and vice president and editor director of Ebony and Jet magazines, met with Moonves on Wednesday. It seemed clear Moonves and his aides were struggling with a difficult decision, he said. He urged them to take advantage of an opportunity to take a stand against the coarsening of culture. "Something happened in the last week around America," Monroe said. "It's not just what the radio host did. America said enough is enough. America said we don't want this kind of conversation, we don't want this kind of vitriol, especially with teenagers."
To be honest, I probably listened to Imus maybe a half dozen times over his tenure, but when I tuned in, I listened------and what I heard just didn't do anything for me.
Dick Morris and Bo Dieti (Imus' longtime friend and guest) have a rousing argument on John Gibson's "The Big Story" over Imus's dismissal and while Bo attacks Obama, Morris throws in a punch at Hillery:
What we have here is no lack of communication.
Monday, April 09, 2007
Zach Johnson held off Tiger Woods and a half dozen others who made their charge to the top of the leader board, only to fall back at the end.
With a stretch of three birdies in four holes on the back nine at Augusta National, Johnson posted a 69 for a one over par total over four rounds, and waited as the final groups (including Woods) came in to no avail. Rovin remains clairvoyant
Johnson pulled away from Woods and the rest of the pack with three birdies in a crucial four-hole stretch along the back nine of Augusta National, closing with a 69 for a two-shot victory and only the second of his career.
Johnson, 31, is the least accomplished Masters champion since Larry Mize chipped in to beat Greg Norman in a playoff 20 years ago, but this was no fluke. Even as some of the thrills returned in the final round, Johnson kept his calm. And there wasn't anything Woods could do about it.
Johnson finished at 1-over 289, matching a Masters record last set in 1956 for highest winning score. And it ended a streak of the winner coming out of the final group at Augusta National ever year since 1991.
"He played beautifully," Woods said. "Look at the round he shot out there, the score. He did what he needed to do. He went out there, grinded away, made shots he needed to make."
So much for that theory that the Masters is only for the big boys. Johnson didn't try to reach any of the par 5s in two all week, yet he played them better than anyone with 11 birdies and no bogeys.
While there were over a half dozen golfers at the top of the leaderboard on Sunday, in the end it was Johnson who kept his cool down the stretch. Johnson now has a lifetime invitation to play in the Masters along with the million-plus paycheck. And he should be remembered, (for this week at Augusta), as the one who tamed the Tiger. Well done Zach. Take a bow.
(photo credit-Getty Images)
Sunday, April 08, 2007
Not Woods finishing bogey-bogey, only to charge up the leaderboard while on the practice range. Not a scoreboard that showed no survivors to par for the first time in history. And certainly not a wind chill factor that never climbed higher than 47 degrees.
They might hand out a green parka, not a green jacket.
Stuart Appleby emerged as the leader despite a triple bogey on the 17th hole with a tee shot into the bunker guarding the seventh green, a wedge into a bunker on the hole he was playing and three putts. Compared with other train wrecks, that was tame.
He wound up with a 1-over 73 and in the final group with a familiar name, who got there in the strangest fashion. Those two bogeys gave Woods a 72, the first time in 11 trips to Augusta National as a pro that he has played three rounds without breaking par.
"There's a lot -- a lot -- of work left," Appleby said. "There's 18 holes, but to be honest, it's way more than that."
There was plenty on Saturday, the highest-scoring third round since 1956. The average score was 77.35, the highest day at Augusta National since it switched to Bentgrass greens in 1981. That's assuming it was grass -- and not glass -- on those greens.
Retief Goosen was the only player to break par, a 70 that moved him from last place into a tie for eighth. A dozen players failed to break 80. That included U.S. Open champion Geoff Ogilvy, who was in the top 10 and making a charge until he twice hit wedge into the water on the 15th for a quadruple-bogey 9. He followed that with three straight bogeys for an 81.
The only suspense was watching Woods move closer to a fifth green jacket, a task made easier by late-afternoon collapses.
Appleby was at 2-over 218, the highest 54-hole lead ever at the Masters. He had a simple explanation for his triple bogey, and he might as well have been speaking for everyone.
"We all are struggling in it together," Woods said. "You just have to get by".............(link to complete story)
Some where Bobby Jones is smiling.
Augusta National has never been this tough to play in the history of the Masters.
When the tourney officials toughened up the course in 2002, they probably never factored in swirling winds up to 25 miles per hour or "U.S. Open" type greens.
But one "factor" does remain true to form-------(even in these conditions), the cream does rise to the top. Each day that Tiger Woods complained about his miscues down the stretch, Woods' 73, 74, 72 for a three over par total has left him one shot out of the lead going into the final round.
On a day when only one player, Retief Goosen, played an under par round (70), all the rest of the field of contenders could do was try to find a way to stop the bleeding. The two leaders starting the day (Brett Wetterich and Tim Clark) ended up with scores of 80 and 83 respectfully. If some one had told Tim Clark that he would shoot and 80 and still remain four shots out of the lead, they might have received a funny look.
But this is the "nature" of the game here at Augusta this year. If Woods shoots par or one over in the final round today, it would be a safe bet he puts on his fifth green jacket. If some one lurking back two to four shots shoots a 68 or 69, (and Woods blows up to 74 or 75), we may very well see a newcomer in the jacket.
But not many would bet on it. Not even Bobby Jones.
(update: ok, so my numbers were off just a bit on Woods (par), but some one did shoot 69 and he's wearing a new jacket.)
Wednesday, April 04, 2007
Hatched by Dafydd
Arthur Herman, he of the "Herman Option" -- which may be less effective now, as Iran tries desperately to convert vehicles to natural gas, than when Herman first proposed it -- has a new article up on the Wall Street Journal's OpinionJournal.com: "How to Win In Iraq."
(Be aware; the sub-head is "And how to lose.")
The article is long, so I will summarize its main points, peppering them with my own few thoughts en route, rather than waiting until the end.
Herman not only points the way to military success in Iraq, he also warns of the most imminent danger threatening to turn that victory in defeat. But in the end, I demonstrate why we will likely prevail after all, dodging that deadly peril. At the end of the political steel-cage death match, Democratic defeatism will be the loser (and will have to leave down in November 2008).
So slither on, friend readers...
Slither on, o Wise, for "How to Win/Lose In Iraq" doth continue...
Please take the time to read the complete post. It is well worth the reading, IMHO