"Evil is powerless if the good are unafraid" - Ronald Reagan

New York

"Right now, you could make a processor that would be as fast as silicon but use one-tenth of the power."

'Quantum well' transistor promises lean computing
Will Knight/New Scientist Original Article

A transistor that uses one-tenth of the energy of existing components could lead to more powerful, less power-hungry computers within the next decade. Researchers at US microchip company Intel and UK research firm Qinetiq developed the transistor using a novel semiconducting material - indium antimonide.

Iraqi Insurgents: They are losers. Worse, they are brutal murderers and cowards.

Why 'Bloody Sunday' Didn't Happen
Ralph Kinney Bennett/TCS Original Article

As the day of the historic Iraqi elections came to a close the incapability of the vitiated Baathist/Islamofascist forces to carry out their bloody, histrionic threats became apparent. They were not able to exact casualties above the normal accident rate in a country of 27 million people.

Let's hope the Iraqi election will be the catalyst for uniting a divided nation.

Was the Iraq Election like Vietnam 1967? Or America 1864?
Noel Sheppard/TCS Original Article

Several critics of the Second Iraq War have attempted to throw cold water on those celebrating a successful and surprisingly stable Iraqi election over the weekend by pointing out that similar joy and optimism emerged after elections in Vietnam in 1967. Specifically, a few detractors have highlighted a New York Times article that ran on September 4 of that year in which Peter Grose reported:

Contemporary history of fixed withdrawal timetables: Vietnam, Lebanon, Somalia. Setting a timetable would produce a "Vietnam".

Table the Timetable
Melana Zyla Vickers/TCS Original Article

As if to mark Iraq's elections, Democrats on Capitol Hill have begun clamoring for a fixed date of departure for U.S. soldiers. "At least 12,000 American troops, probably more, should leave at once," Sen. Edward Kennedy has said. Withdraw 120,000 of the 150,000 troops within the next 11 months, Rep. Martin Meehan (D-Mass) has said. And other House Democrats have introduced a resolution on withdrawal.

Spreading democracy and freedom is not only noble but actually vital to American strategic self interest

Mind the Gap: Revisiting 'The Pentagon's New Map'
Dean Barnett/TCS Original Article

When Thomas P.M. Barnett's controversial book "The Pentagon's New Map" was published in April 2004, it received an odd sort of bi-polar public reception. On the one hand, former Pentagon briefer Barnett was the subject of a favorable profile on the front page of the Wall Street Journal as his book quickly attained best-seller status. On the other hand, several prominent outlets such as the New York Times Book Review opted to ignore "The Pentagon's New Map." Those who chose to ignore it chose unwisely. Whether you like Barnett's vision or loathe it, ten months after the book's publication it is clear that Barnett's prescience was stunning.

How the Supreme Court is Destroying America

Men in Black is a must-read
Rush Limbaugh/Townhall Original Article

There is no vacancy on the Supreme Court, but the battle over the next nominee has already begun. Hollywood's favorite group, People for the American Way, is bragging about its new war room, equipped with dozens of computers and scores of staffers to conduct opposition research on President Bush's presumed nominees and network with grassroots organizations. Other liberal groups are conducting polling and raising funds for paid television advertising.

Some Fear Choice Will Add to Red-State Blues

Ailing Democrats Put Their Faith in Dr. Dean
Dan Balz/Washington Post Original Article

Two questions swirled around the Democrats as their national committee assembled yesterday to select a new party chairman: Can Howard Dean cure what ails the party, or is Howard Dean symptomatic of why those ailments may be so difficult to cure?

Some economists worry that the Fed is too complacent

Fretting about inflation
Matthew Benjamin/US News Original Article

Drive out to the ballpark or watch the game at home on a new big-screen TV? Buy the kids a pet or a new computer? Fry up an omelet or roast a chicken? The cost-conscious would stay at home and crack a few eggs while the kids surf the Web. Prices for televisions, PC s, and eggs dropped significantly last year, while those for gasoline, game tickets, chickens, and veterinary services rose significantly.

Open a new chapter in our relationship and a new chapter in our alliance

Rice tour de force moves world into a more hopeful phase
Scotsman (UK) Original Article

SPRING may still be some cold weeks away, but across the Middle East and Europe there have been distinct and heartening signs over the past week of a real break in the ice and the promise of warmer times. In global terms, the event of the week was the handshake at Sharm el-Sheikh between Israel’s prime minister, Ariel Sharon, and Mahmoud Abbas, Yasser Arafat’s newly-elected successor. This heralds a truce and a new phase of peace-making.

The interim Volcker report is no whitewash.

Oil for Food Facts
WSJ Opinion Journal Original Article

So much for the worry that Paul Volcker's probe into the U.N. Oil for Food scandal would be a "whitewash." After taking the time to read the 246-page interim report (link in PDF) the former Fed chairman issued late last week, we think his revelations have if anything been underplayed. To wit: Oil for Food program director Benon Sevan behaved unethically and then lied about it, and he hasn't adequately explained $160,000 he received.

Mom always used to tell me, "Its hard to soar like an eagle if you hang with turkeys."

College Official Resigns Over Speaker
Guardian Unlimited Original Article

The head of a gender studies program at Hamilton College has resigned after igniting a furor by inviting to the campus a professor who likened the Sept. 11 victims to Nazis. Nancy Rabinowitz said she was stepping down "under duress'' as director of the Kirkland Project for the Study of Gender, Society and Culture. She will continue to teach comparative literature.

Democrats could learn something here. If somebody is right several times, you may want to relook your own failed policies

Europe takes new look at Bush before trip
David R. Sands/Washington Times Original Article

President Bush's re-election and the successful vote in Iraq have had a profound effect on public opinion in Europe, with expectations soaring for Mr. Bush's trip there later this month, a leading member of the European Parliament says.

Everybody wants to be involved in drafting the Iraqi Constitution; however, few wanted to pay the military sacrifice

How to Move Iraq Forward
Kofi A. Annan/Wahington Post Original Article

The success of the Jan. 30 elections in Iraq has created an exciting moment of opportunity. It matters greatly that Iraq's transition is a success. I am determined to make certain that the United Nations will play its full part in helping the Iraqi people achieve that end.

Ground breaking idea, You lie, you get fired.

CNN News Executive Eason Jordan Quits
Vid Baurer/Associated Press Original Article

CNN chief news executive Eason Jordan quit Friday amidst a furor over remarks he made in Switzerland last month about journalists killed by the U.S. military in Iraq. Jordan said he was quitting to avoid CNN being "unfairly tarnished" by the controversy.

Municipal Election in Saudi Arabia

Cleric-Backed Candidates Win in Riyadh
AP Original Article

Candidates backed by Islamic clerics won races in the Saudi Arabian capital in the kingdom's first regular balloting, an election observer said Friday. Suleiman al-Oqaili told a press conference at which the preliminary results were announced that he saw the seven Riyadh winners' names on a list circulated via cell phones and the Internet.

Most of these cuts are for things the Federal Govt has no business (Constitutionally) being involved in

White House Spells Out List of 150 Budget Cuts
Caren Bohan/Reuters Original Article

President Bush's quest to cut or eliminate as many as 150 federal programs will reduce funding for state and local homeland security grants, job training and several education programs, the White House said on Friday. The White House issued 233 pages of documents giving specifics on how Bush would meet his goal of limiting the growth of discretionary spending for fiscal 2006 to 2.1 percent -- less than the rate of inflation.

What they successfully do is create a new issue to negotiate over

N. Korean Bluff Is Typical, Experts Say
Burt Herman/AP Original Article

Bluffs and bluster, then capitulation and compromise. North Korea has decades of experience dancing a diplomatic tango with its allies and enemies to get what it wants — and leaving the rest of the world guessing as to the real intent of the isolated communist regime.

Things that make you go ewh

Officials: Woman Made Up Tossed Baby Story
Curt Anderson/AP Original Article

A woman who claimed to have witnessed a newborn being thrown from a moving car was the baby's mother and concocted the story as a way to abandon the child and conceal her pregnancy from her family, officials said Friday.

The Palestinian Authority will not tolerate any actions that will sabotage the agreement reached with Israelis on a mutual cease-fire."

Abbas Heads to Gaza to Confront Militants
Mohammed Daraghmeh/AP Original Article

A day after firing his top security commanders, Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas headed to the Gaza Strip on Friday to demand that militant leaders stop attacking Israelis, a strong sign of his determination to enforce a fragile truce with Israel.

We believe the six-party talks are the way to resolve the situation

N.Korea Demands Two-Way Talks, U.S. Refuses
Jon Herskovitz and Steve Holland/Reuters Original Article

North Korea demanded bilateral talks with the United States over its nuclear weapons program but Washington quickly rejected the idea on Friday and insisted Pyongyang return to six-party negotiations. "There's plenty of opportunities for North Korea to speak directly with us in the context of the six-party talks," said White House spokesman Scott McClellan.

The Palestinian leader needs more consistent and visible support from his Arab neighbors.

Missing Mideast Puzzle Piece
The Monitor's View Original Article

To achieve this week's announced cease-fire between the Israelis and Palestinians - the first in more than four years - the key players have been doing "the right thing": The Palestinians' newly elected leader, Mahmoud Abbas, denounced violence as the way to statehood, backing up words with deeds.

Whenever government gets involved, prices always go up.

Surprise! Medicare's drug benefit gets a mega markup
USA Today OpEd Original Article

A rule of thumb in government is that new programs almost always cost more than politicians predict. So it should come as no surprise that the new Medicare prescription-drug benefit will cost taxpayers more than originally advertised. When the plan to help seniors cope with skyrocketing drug costs passed Congress in 2003, the advertised price was $400 billion over 10 years. Two months later, the Bush administration “revised” the estimate to $534 billion. Now, Medicare officials project the cost to be $724 billion from 2006 to 2015, its first full decade.

It all comes down to message. Guess substance is out.

Supercharged McAuliffe Revels in Closing Days of Tenure
Dan Balz/Washington Post Original Article

Democratic National Committee Chairman Terence R. McAuliffe is not leaving quietly. With two days left before he hands the gavel over to former Vermont governor Howard Dean, McAuliffe was running at full speed yesterday, wrapping up the last details of the party's finances, lunching with reporters, and being feted at a gala whose speakers included former president Bill Clinton and the party's 2004 presidential nominee, John F. Kerry.

Sounds like Iraqi police fought against rebels instead of fleeing

US choppers oust rebels
Tim Witcher/The Australian Original Article

US helicopters attacked an Iraqi police station overrun by rebels as the Islamic new year started with dozens more deaths at insurgent hands. At least 10 police were killed in the rebel assault on the police station at Salman Pak yesterday and a resulting fire fight, which also resulted in the deaths of 20 gunmen, the authorities said.

Australia’s wool industry gets sheepish in the face of animal-rights demagoguery.

Tall Tales Down Under
Wesley J. Smith/NRO Original Article

Demagoguery comes easy to the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). The most recent example comes out of Australia, where PETA is mounting an international boycott against that nation's wool industry over the admittedly unpleasant — but necessary — Australian sheep-ranching practice known as "mulesing" (described below). Yet the defensive response of the Australian wool industry after being attacked unfairly, demonstrates why PETA so often gets the upper hand.

Supporters of the bill acknowledge that it faces an uphill battle in the Senate

House Passes Tightening of Laws on Immigration
David D. Kirkpatrick/The New York Times Original Article

The House of Representatives voted on Thursday to approve a bill tightening immigration laws in the name of border security. The main provisions of the bill, which passed 261 to 161, block states from issuing standard drivers' licenses to illegal immigrants and make it easier for judges to expel asylum seekers.
US and Europe, Closer Together
James K. Glassman/TCS Original Article

"There is nothing Europeans want to hear from George Bush, nothing that will change their minds," wrote Thomas Friedman of the New York Times recently after he spent 10 days in Europe. "Mr. Bush is more widely and deeply despised than any U.S. president in history." Well, I have just spent eight days in Europe, and I couldn't disagree more.

Technology solves the mystery

Tech Solves Hope Diamond Mystery of the Hope Diamond
AP Original Article

Researchers using computer analysis have traced the origin of the famed Hope Diamond, concluding that it was cut from a larger stone that was once part of the crown jewels of France. A French connection had been suspected for the Hope, but the new study shows just how it would have fit inside the larger French Blue Diamond and how that gem was cut, Smithsonian gem curator Jeffrey Post explained.

Interesting that the Iraqi government is trying to keep out Shi'ites from Iran

Iraq to close borders to thwart attacks
Alister Bull and Mariam Karouny/Swiss Info Original Article

Iraq will seal its borders next week to prevent Shi'ite pilgrims flooding into thecountry, the government says, in the latest emergency measure intended to thwart insurgent violence.The borders will be closed between February 17 and February 22, in a move a government spokesman said on Thursday was designed to coincide with the climax of Ashura, a major Shi'itereligious ceremony.

There may be purchasing of F-16s in the future

Lockheed Wins Planes Deal With India
S. Srininvasan/Associated Press Original Article

Lockheed Martin Corp., the biggest U.S. defense company, said Thursday it has won export licenses to sell C-130J military transport planes and P-3C Orion naval surveillance aircraft to India.

Obviously many Democrats agree with "Bush's supporters in the business world".

Senate Passes Overhaul of Rules for Class-Action Lawsuits
David Stout/The New York Times Original Article

The Senate voted overwhelmingly today to shift many class-action lawsuits from state courts to federal courts, handing President Bush and his supporters in the business world a major legislative triumph. The 72-to-26 vote sends the bill to the House of Representatives, where it will probably be quickly passed and sped on its way to the desk of the president, who is eager to sign it.

Ann Coulter on the Warpath

Ann Coulter /UExpress Original Article

If Ward Churchill loses his job teaching at the University of Colorado, he could end up giving Howard Dean a real run for his money to head the Democratic National Committee.

It needs to be seen if Abbas can reign in these militants who are challenging his rule

Officials: Abbas Fires Gaza Commanders
Josef Federman/AP Original Article

Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas fired top Gaza security commanders Thursday, Palestinian officials said, hours after militants fired dozens of mortar shells and homemade rockets at Jewish settlements there, breaking a 2-day-old cease-fire.

North Korea is trying to win more concessions from the United States by hardening its stance

N.Korea Says It Has Nuclear Arms, Spurns Talks
Jack Kim and Jon Herskovitz/Reuters Original Article

North Korea declared Thursday for the first time it possessed nuclear weapons and pulled out indefinitely from six-party talks on its atomic ambitions, saying it needed a defense against a hostile United States.

Its hiscountry's obligation to repay its debt to the international community

El Salvador to Send More Troops to Iraq
Diego Mendez/AP Original Article

El Salvador has agreed to a U.S. request to send a fourth army contingent to Iraq, President Tony Saca said Wednesday. The troops were scheduled to leave Thursday en route to the southern Iraqi town of Hilla, where the third 380-troop Salvadoran contingent is currently based. Those soldiers are slated to return home on Feb. 25.

Validating the vote in Iraq. Need to make sure this is right

Recount Delays Iraq Final Election Results
Robert H. Reid/AP Original Article

Iraqi officials said Wednesday they must recount votes from about 300 ballot boxes because of various discrepancies, delaying final results from the landmark national elections. Hundreds - perhaps thousands - of other ballots were declared invalid because of alleged tampering. Postelection violence mounted, raising fears that the Jan. 30 balloting had done little to ease the country's grave security crisis.

The head of the IAEA is a key position for Bush administration

U.S. Aims to Oust U.N. Nuke Official
George Jahn/APNews Service Here Original Article

The United States is lobbying allies in a bid to oust the head of the U.N. nuclear watchdog agency, perhaps as early as the end of the month, diplomats and officials told The Associated Press on Wednesday. Anticipating that present European diplomatic efforts on Iran will fail, the diplomats and officials also told AP that Washington plans to increase pressure on Tehran over its nuclear program when the International Atomic Energy Agency meets Feb. 28.

ETA and those who support it have no place in political or civil life

Terror Group Blamed for Spain Car Bombing
Ed McCullough/My Way News Original Article

A car bomb exploded in a Madrid business park Wednesday after a warning call purportedly from the Basque separatist group ETA, injuring at least 43 people, officials said, in the worst blast in the Spanish capital since last year's terrorist attack on commuter trains.

Amid peace talks, message to people in Arabic doesn't change

PA TV: Goal is Israel's destruction
World Net Daily Original Article

As Israel and the Palestinians agree to a cease-fire setting the stage for peace talks, official Palestinian Authority television continues to communicate the ultimate goal of eliminating the Jewish state.

An interesting thought about the confirmation process

Filtering Out the Best
Thomas Sowell/Real Clear Politics Original Article

Having lost the White House, both houses of Congress, and a majority of the governorships and state legislatures, the Democrats are in an ugly and desperate mood, lashing out without regard to how their words and actions will affect this country's position internationally, including giving aid and comfort to our enemies.

Promoting democracy is in America's interests even if the democratic process sometimes yields results we don't like.

Best of the Web Today
James Taranto/WSJ Original Article

America's Winning Streak Not so very long ago, American opponents of the Bush administration were rejoicing in the election victories of anti-American or anti-Bush candidates in such countries as Germany, South Korea and Spain. They've been awfully quiet of late, and little wonder: In recent months President Bush has been doing very well in elections around the world.

OK, stop the extremist teachings then.

Extremist Teachings, Not Jobs, Cause of Terrorism: Gosaibi
Arab News Original Article

Labor Minister Dr. Ghazi Al-Gosaibi thinks extremist teachings, not unemployment, are the root causes of terrorism in Saudi Arabia. Gosaibi blamed the spread of terrorism on the “indoctrination that teaches young people they can kill justifiably” and the training some extremists received in terror camps in Afghanistan. “I don’t believe that terrorist movement has anything to do with unemployment,” the minister told reporters in Riyadh.

Nearly two-thirds of Americans satisfied with war on terrorism

Poll: Bush gets higher marks on terror
CNN Original Article

Nearly two-thirds of Americans are satisfied with the way things are going in the war on terrorism, according to a CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll released Tuesday. Sixty-four percent of those polled said they were "very" or "somewhat" satisfied with the way things are going in the war on terrorism, while 35 percent said they were dissatisfied.

President Carter compromised the hopes of Venezuelans in the recall election

Cracking down on Caracas
Mortimer B. Zuckerman/US News Original Article

While we have our eyes on the Middle East and the recent good news out of there, a danger to democracy is brewing right here in our backyard. Venezuela, long one of Latin America's strongest democracies, is now under siege by its president, Hugo Chavez. Thanks to an ill-judged intervention by former President Jimmy Carter, Chavez narrowly survived a recall election and has now accelerated his subversion of Venezuela's democracy by a scummy deal with Fidel Castro.

Before long, Abbas will need to confront the terrorist groups

Does Abbas have the courage to commit to peace?
USA Today Original Article

It takes enormous courage to be a peacemaker in the Middle East. Yasser Arafat didn't have it. Whether the new Palestinian leader, Mahmoud Abbas, can find it within himself will likely decide whether Tuesday's extraordinary moment of hope in the Middle East grows into more.

Iran with a nuclear weapon would be a very destabilizing force in the world

Rice: Iran Can't Delay Nuke Accountability
Anne Gearan/AP Original Article

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice warned Iran on Wednesday that it risks U.N. action if negotiations with Europe over its nuclear program don't progress. Nearing the end of a fence-mending tour of European allies, Rice also said she encountered "a kind of coming together of common purpose" on another troubled front: Iraq. Several countries committed to help train Iraqi forces and participate in an upcoming NATO training mission.

Lets see how Abbas handles this threat to the truce.

Palestinians Say Hizbollah Trying to Wreck Truce
Diala Saadeh/Reuters Original Article

Lebanese Hizbollah guerrillas are trying to recruit Palestinian militants for attacks on Israelis in order to sabotage Middle East peace efforts, senior Palestinian officials said on Wednesday. The accusations from political and security officials, a day after Israel and the Palestinians announced a cease-fire, echoed charges from the Jewish state. The officials declined to be identified.

Everybody knows what the Iranians need to do. They just need to do it.

Rice chides Europeans over Iran nuclear talks
AFP Original Article

A day after heralding a new era in transatlantic relations, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice scolded her European allies over their handling of nuclear talks with Iran. Rice complained that Britain, France and Germany had failed to make sufficiently clear the threat of UN sanctions if Tehran refused to renounce its suspected nuclear weapons ambitions.

Another small step towards peace in the Middle East

Israel Set to Reopen Gaza Border After Truce Summit
Mark Heinrich/Reuters Original Article

Israel said on Wednesday it would shortly reopen its border with Gaza to Palestinian workers and merchants -- the first follow-up to a cease-fire summit in Egypt that resuscitated hope for Middle East peacemaking. Adding to a mood of optimism, the "Quartet" of United States, Russia, United Nations and European Union said they would attend a Palestinian reconstruction conference set for March 1-2 in London.

Suddenly, France and Germany support democracy in Iraq.

The Cows Come Home
Brendan Miniter/WSJ Original Article

If George W. Bush is a cowboy, then one of his most trusted hands just brought in a stray. Thanks to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's recent trip to Europe, Germany is now promising to rejoin the herd migrating toward Iraqi democracy. This was not how it was supposed to be. Last year John Kerry claimed only he could bring in the wayward European cattle.

Defending the structure of a 70-year-old program is not a step forward

John Podhoretz/New York Post Original Article

GLEEFUL Democrats and liberals think they've found their way back: All they have to do is kill President Bush's Social Security reform proposal the way Republicans and conservatives killed the Clinton health-care plan 11 years ago, and they will be returned to power and glory. Following the catastrophic failure of the Clinton plan in 1994, Democrats lost control of the House of Representatives and the Senate — and with Bush's ascension in 2000, they have been wandering in the wilderness ever since.

Capitalism - free market, property rights, law of contract, etc. That's why Hong Kong is freer than Liberia, if less "democratic"

I hate to rain on Europe's parade, but …
Mark Steyn/The Telegraph (UK) Original Article

I was very moved by the story of Mr Richard Kral, a Slovak gentleman found staggering drunk down a snowy trail a few days back. He'd been motoring through the Tatra Mountains in his Audi when he got buried by an avalanche. Opening the window and frantically clawing at the snow, he grasped that he couldn't dig his way out faster than the white stuff would come into the car and bury him. So he looked around and his eye fell on the 60 half-litre bottles of beer he happened to have with him. He had a drink and midway through realised that he could urinate on the snow to melt it.

Natan Sharansky draws attention to a new report by the Palestinan Media Watch.

"Kill a Jew--Go to Heaven"
Rachel DiCarlo/The Weekly Standard Original Article

NATAN SHARANSKY's timing was perfect. On January 25, Sharansky, the ex-Soviet dissident and current Israeli cabinet member, presented a detailed report on the Palestinian Authority's promotion of anti-Semitism and genocide in its official media. He did so amidst the 60th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz and Israel's National Day Against anti-Semitism.

The Brussels plan to lift embargo will top the agenda at Condoleezza Rice’s talks today

All smiles again . . . until it comes to arms sales to China
Anthony Browne/Times Online (UK) Original Article

THEY will all be on their best behaviour, but the public smiles and handshakes when Condoleezza Rice visits Brussels and Luxembourg today will not disguise the tension over a growing dispute between the United States and the European Union.

History will surely judge us not by our old disagreements, but by our new achievements

US challenge to Europe
The Telegraph (UK) Original Article

In the main speech of her first tour as Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice yesterday invited Europe to join America in advancing the cause of freedom. Addressing a student audience in Paris, Miss Rice sought to move beyond the deep differences that scarred transatlantic relations during George W Bush's first term. She called for a new partnership that would work to consolidate democracy in Afghanistan and Iraq, Georgia and Ukraine, and to help restore full sovereignty to Syrian-dominated Lebanon. "After all, history will surely judge us not by our old disagreements, but by our new achievements," she said.

There is no question we continue to see NATO as our great, and most important security alliance

NATO Readies Reconciliation on French Riviera
Mark John/Reuters Original Article

NATO defense chiefs will try to put differences on Iraq behind them and agree to do more in Afghanistan at a meeting in France starting Wednesday, two weeks before President Bush visits Europe.

Is it worthy to have dinner with our prophet to commit this?"

Blast at Iraqi Recruiting Center Kills 21 as Insurgency Mounts
Steve Fainaru/Washington Post Original Article

A man walked into a crowd of Iraqi army recruits in central Baghdad on Tuesday and blew himself up, killing at least 21 people and wounding at least 27. The death toll has reached 168 in Iraq since the Jan. 30 parliamentary elections, and Iraqi security forces have borne the brunt of the violence.

Fallujah, Safest city in Iraq

Tanks, Officers Impose Order in Fallujah
Anja Niedringhaus/AP on Yahoo Original Article

Iraqis line up in straggling columns, waiting to pass through barbed-wire checkpoints that ring this former insurgent stronghold left battered by intense fighting three months ago. Men stand in one, women and children in another. The few cars form a third.

Saber rattling by Iran. They just need to stop production of nuclear material.

Iran tells US nuclear sites cannot be destroyed
AP Original Article

Iran warned the United States that its nuclear sites cannot be destroyed by air or missile strikes, as Britain entered the fray by declaring that Tehran is a state sponsor of terrorism. Top national security official Hassan Rowhani said on state television that a military strike would only push Iran's nuclear activities underground, and told Washington that the stand-off should be settled by dialogue.

Hamas immediately calls the halt to violence into question. Lets see who breaks the truce first.

Mideast Leaders Declare Halt to Violence
Lara Sukhtian/AP of Yahoo Original Article

Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas declared Tuesday that their people would stop all military and violent attacks against each other, pledging to break a four-year cycle of bloodshed and get peace talks back on track. With the flags of their countries whipping in the wind, Sharon and Abbas met face-to-face at a Mideast summit, smiling broadly as they leaned across a long white table to shake hands. In one sign the talks went well, Egypt and Jordan announced afterward that they would return their ambassadors to Israel after a four-year absence — possibly within days.

We need to watch how the Mosul Police Chief handles this.

Insurgents Kill at Least 30 in Iraq
Mariam Fam/AP on Yahoo Original Article

Insurgents struck at Iraqi police with a suicide bomb, a car bomb and mortars in the cities of Mosul and Baqouba on Monday, killing at least 30 people as they pressed their campaign to undermine the fledgling security forces. The deadliest attack came in Baqouba, where a car bomb exploded outside the gates of a provincial police headquarters, killing 15 people and wounding 17, police Col. Mudhahar al-Jubouri said. Many victims were there to seek jobs as policemen, al-Jubouri said.

Rice Announces LTG Ward as Middle East Security Coordinator

Rice Announces U.S. Security Coordinator in Mideast
Saul Hudson/Reuters on Yahoo Original Article

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice announced Monday the appointment of a U.S. general as security coordinator to protect budding Middle East peace moves and that Israeli and Palestinian leaders would visit Washington. Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and new Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, due to hold a landmark summit in Egypt Tuesday on halting more than four years of violence, will meet separately with President Bush in the spring.

Afganistan, Libya, Iraq, Israel, Palestine. The list keeps growing

Israel, Palestinians to Declare Truce
AP on Yahoo Original Article

The Israeli and Palestinian leaders will declare a formal end to more than four years of fighting at Tuesday's Mideast summit, both sides said Monday. Israeli and Palestinian negotiators finalized the agreement during last-minute preparations Monday. "The most important thing at the summit will be a mutual declaration of cessation of violence against each other," said Saeb Erekat, a Palestinian negotiator.

America: Democracy and Religious Tolerance, An Analysis

Cheney, “They will do it their way...And that’s as it should be."
Caveman/Ramblings from the Rock Original Article

This statement from Vice President Cheney proves two points that have been batted around both in democratic circles and Arab circles.First, US is in Iraq solely for the oil. The current US administration nor military has not tied anything it does to oil. While it has ensured the flow of oil, since this is in our strategic interest, it has not represented Iraq ever on oil issues. While the US will guide Iraq in its best interests, Iraq is free to choose how to manage its resources for its people.Secondly, US is in Iraq to force its views on the Arab world. If this was the case, the US President would not let a statement such as the Vice President's stand. In full, the Vice President stated, "They will do it their way. They will do it in accordance with their culture and their history and their beliefs and whatever role they decide they want to have for religion in their society. And that’s as it should be." He reiterated that Iraq has the right to shape its own democracy without becoming “an Iraqi version of America.”

Cheney, “They will do it their way...And that’s as it should be."

Sistani Wants Islam to Be Sole Source of Legislation
Naseer Al-Nahr/Arab News Original Article

Iraq’s Shiite leader Grand Ayatollah Ali Al-Sistani and another top cleric yesterday demanded that Islam be the sole source of legislation in the country’s new constitution. Hours later US Vice President Dick Cheney said Iraq has the right to shape its own democracy without becoming “an Iraqi version of America.”

In the year to come, Iraqis will learn democracy's virtues

Beyond tyranny's shadow
Fouad Ajami/US News on Yahoo Original Article

On the morning after Iraq's historic election, Al Ahram, the official daily of President Hosni Mubarak's regime in Cairo, led with its version of a big story: On the front page, there was Mubarak, attending an African summit in Nigeria. The pose was outwardly serene, that of the pharaoh himself, staring into the camera. There were banner headlines proclaiming that Egypt had offered serious proposals to the summit about development and the eradication of diseases and Afro-Chinese cooperation in the year 2009.

Producing nuclear weapons, but cannot make (enough) fertilizer. An example of why Communism fails.

S.Korea Wants Talks Before Tackling North Farm Aid
Jack Kim/Reuters Original Article

South Korea will likely wait until North Korea returns to talks before dealing with a request for fertilizer to help its faltering agricultural sector, a South Korean government minister said on Monday. South Korea has been trying to coax the North back to both six-country talks aimed at dismantling its nuclear programs and to bilateral dialogue. Both negotiations have been stalled since last year.

Great Game

Patriots Win 3rd Super Bowl in 4 Years
Barry Wilner/AP on Yahoo Original Article

Dynasties don't have to be perfect or pretty. They just have to win — like the New England Patriots. The Patriots won their third Super Bowl in four years with a dominant second half Sunday night, wearing down the Philadelphia Eagles 24-21.

He's already has signed it. In his will, he states, it should be mailed.

Kerry Asked To Sign Form Releasing All Naval Service Records
Judicial Watch Original Article

Judicial Watch, the public interest group that investigates and prosecutes government corruption, today asked Sen. John F. Kerry to keep his word to the American public and sign a Standard Form 180 (SF 180), “Request Pertaining to Military Records.” On Sunday, Jan. 30, 2005, during an appearance on the NBC News show “Meet the Press,” moderator Tim Russert asked Sen. Kerry (three times) if he would sign an SF 180 and release all of his military records.

Social Security Reform: More disinformation from the left

Would Social Security Reform Lead to a 40 Percent Cut in Benefits?
David C. John and Keith Miller/The Heritage Foundation Original Article

Opponents of Social Security reform say that catastrophic benefit cuts would occur only if individuals were allowed to invest a portion of their payroll taxes in personal retirement accounts, as the President has proposed. This willful misunderstanding of the operation of personal accounts is dishonest and obscures the truth: While inaction will lead to automatic cuts in Social Security benefits, personal accounts could allow Social Security to pay what it has promised.

The Final Frontier; 22,600 mile flyby in 2029 by 1000 foot rock

Closest Flyby of Large Asteroid to be Naked-Eye Visible
Robert Roy Britt/Space.com Original Article

An asteroid expected to fly past Earth in 2029 will be visible to the naked eye, scientists projected Thursday. It's a once-in-a-millennium event. And you may want to buy plane tickets now, as the flyby will be visible only from Europe, Africa and western Asia. There has been no event like this in modern history. Some people have seen dramatic fireballs created by small space rocks blazing through Earth's atmosphere. And two house-sized asteroids have made closer passes. But they were not visible without telescopes.

Iraqi self-government in practice; security will come soon if they keep this up.

Iraqi Police Use Kidnappers' Videos to Fight Crime
New York Times Original Article

In one scene, the videotape shows three kidnappers with guns and a knife, preparing to behead a helpless man who is gagged and kneeling at their feet. In the next, it is one of the kidnappers who is in detention, his eyes wide with fear, his lips trembling, as he speaks to his interrogators.

Horse trading is beginning. Now lets see what Sadr says

I will bring al-Sadr into government, says the man tipped to be Iraq's new PM
Toby Harnden/The Telegraph Original Article

A leading contender to become Iraq's new prime minister has offered to welcome Moqtadr al-Sadr, the demagogic Shia cleric behind bloody uprisings against coalition forces, into a new government expanded to include those who boycotted the election. Ibrahim al-Jaafari, a moderate Shia whose United Iraqi Alliance (UIA) list is certain to top last weekend's poll, told The Telegraph that Sadr, wanted for alleged involvement in the hacking to death of a fellow cleric, was "a good person" who could play a constructive role in the new Iraq.

I wouldn't trust this guy with my dog, much less National Security

Biden: Consider Iran's 'emotional needs'
WorldNetDaily.com Original Article

As Tehran raise fears with its increasing nuclear capability, the world must address Iran's emotional needs and agree to a nonagression pact, says Sen. Joseph Biden, D-Del. Biden was cited by Boston Globe columnist H.D.S. Greenway, who wrote that President Bush's rhetoric about freedom and specific references to Iran is making people wonder if Tehran will be the next target, after Iraq.

Hard to keep diplomacy going when one side does not compromise

Iran Would Accelerate Nuke Program if Attacked
Paul Hughes and Parisa Hafezi/MyWay.com Original Article

Iran would both retaliate and accelerate its drive to master nuclear technology if the United States or Israel attacked its atomic facilities, Iran's chief nuclear negotiator warned on Sunday.
Hassan Rohani, secretary-general of Iran's Supreme National Security Council, also told Reuters there was nothing the West could offer Tehran that would persuade it to scrap a nuclear program which Washington fears may be used to make bombs.

Terroritst in Iraq murder 22 Iraqi Officers

22 Iraqi Officers Killed Near Baghdad
Jason Keyser/AP on Yahoo Original Article

Insurgents attacked a police station south of Baghdad under cover of darkness Sunday, killing 22 Iraqi police and soldiers, police said. Gunmen seized four Egyptians technicians in Baghdad in the second kidnapping of foreigners in the Iraqi capital within a week.

The Pope delivers Sunday Mass

Pope Vows to Continue His Mission
Victor L. Simpson/AP on Yahoo Original Article

Pope John Paul II, determined to show the faithful he is recovering from his latest health crisis, appeared in an open hospital window Sunday and vowed to continue his mission despite his age and mounting medical troubles.

Oil-for-Food: Getting uglier and uglier

Buyers of Iraq U.N. Oil May Be Implicated
Sam Cage/AP on Yahoo Original Article

Companies that bought Iraqi oil from traders who allegedly spent billions of dollars to bribe Saddam Hussein for contracts under the U.N. oil-for-food program now could be implicated in the vast web of corruption uncovered in the investigation by former Federal Reserve chairman Paul Volcker, a Swiss criminal lawyer told The Associated Press on Sunday.

Israeli & Palestinian compromises keeps the peace

Israel Eases Refusal to Free Palestinians
Josef Federman/AP on Yahoo Original Article

Israel on Sunday backed off its long-standing refusal to release Palestinian prisoners accused of violence against Israelis, defusing a crisis that threatened to derail an upcoming Mideast summit. In a related development, the mainstream Fatah movement declared Sunday that it would be prepared for a cease-fire with Israel.

An Iraqi Lesson for the Trembling Rulers

Iraqi Elections (V): Press Reactions from Iraq and Neighboring Countries
Dr. Nimrod Raphaeli/MEMRI Original Article

The courageous and often festive march of millions of Iraqis to the voting booths on January 31, in spite of threats and acts of violence and intimidation, has demonstrated the Iraqis' keen desire to turn the page on almost four decades of totalitarianism, wars, oppression and fear and to embrace freedom and democracy. The elections were a first step on what may be a long and arduous road to change – but they are nonetheless a significant first step.

Previous Articles by Dr. Nimrod Raphaeli about Iraqi Elections:
Iraqi Elections (IV): Platforms and Campaign Strategies Original Article
Iraqi Elections (III): The Islamist and Terrorist Threats Original Article
Iraqi Elections (II): The Launching of the Campaign Original Article
Iraqi Elections (I): The Imperatives of Elections on Schedule Original Article

Successful day at the UN; appoint a committee that agrees on the need to do nothing

Would you trust these men with $64bn of your cash? Of course not
Mark Steyn/The Telegraph Original Article

At tough times in my life, with the landlord tossing my clothes and record collection out on to the street, I could have used an aunt like Benon Sevan's. Asked to account for the appearance in his bank account of a certain $160,000, Mr Sevan, executive director of the UN Oil-for-Food programme, said it was a gift from his aunt. Lucky Sevan, eh? None of my aunts ever had that much of the folding stuff on tap.

Israeli/Palestinian “cooling down” period still holding

Palestinians Press for Israeli Concessions Ahead of Summit
Agence France Presse Original Article

The Palestinians pressed for concessions from Israel on the release of prisoners yesterday just three days before a potentially breakthrough summit in the Egyptian resort of Sharm El-Sheikh. The two sides were to hold fresh talks on the issue yesterday evening, the head of Palestinian leader Mahmud Abbas’s office said.

We don't need prissy military leaders

The Truth About War
Ralph Peters/New York Post Original Article

IN San Diego on Tuesday, I had the privilege of sitting beside Lt.-Gen. Jim Mattis, a Marine who knows how to fight. We were on a panel discussing future war. And Gen. Mattis, a Marine to the marrow of his bones, spoke honestly about the thrill of combat. Mattis has commanded at every level. In Desert Storm, he led a battalion. In Afghanistan and then in Iraq, he led with inspiration and courage. Everyone on our panel had opinions about war, but that no-nonsense Marine knew more about it than the rest of us combined.

No distinction between the terrorists who commit acts and those who harbor them

What Bin Laden Sees in Hiroshima
Steve Coll/The Washington Post Original Article

At a conference on the future of al Qaeda sponsored by Los Alamos National Laboratory last month, I posed a dark question to 60 or so nuclear weapons scientists and specialists on terrorism and radical Islam: How many of them believed that the probability of a nuclear fission bomb attack on U.S. soil during the next several decades was negligible -- say, less than 5 percent?

A hopeful attitude toward the democratization of Iraq

The Real 'Arab Street'
Amr Hamzawy/Wahington Post Original Article

The turnout in last Sunday's Iraqi elections surprised even the most optimistic observers in the Middle East. Reading Arab newspapers during the weeks before the vote, one could hardly escape the expectation that the adventure of holding elections in Iraq was certain to be a fiasco. The bulk of Arab intellectuals and journalists foresaw a minimal turnout and possibly devastating results, such as an outbreak of civil war between the Shiite and Sunni populations and the emergence of an Iranian-controlled Islamic republic of Iraq.

In Iraq, weakened terrorists resort to fraud, swallowed by mainstream media

The impotent insurgents
Jack Kelly/Post-Gazette Original Article

History repeats itself, Karl Marx said, "first as tragedy, second as farce." In the days immediately following Iraq's historic election, two videotapes from "insurgent" groups were distributed to the news media. One purported to show an American soldier being held hostage. The second purported to show that a British C-130 transport aircraft, which crashed on election day, had been shot down by a surface-to-air missile.

Iran was the biggest loser during the Iraqi elections

Birth of a Democracy
Reuel Marc Gerecht/The Weekly Standard Original Article

ALL RIGHT. LET US make an analytical bet of high probability and enormous returns: The January 30 elections in Iraq will easily be the most consequential event in modern Arab history since Israel's six-day defeat of Gamal Abdel Nasser's alliance in 1967. Israel's pulverizing defeat of the Arab armies dethroned Nasserism, the romantic pan-Arab dictatorial nationalism that had infected much of the Arab world, particularly its intelligentsia, during the 1950s and '60s. With the collapse of Nasserism, the overtly secular socialist-cum-fascist age in the Middle East closed--except in Iraq under Saddam Hussein.

Democracy and Freedom; An Analysis

Stages to Freedom
Caveman/Ramblings from the Rock Original Article

While not a historian, it is my sincere belief (backed by historical accounts) that there exists a general misunderstanding of how freedom is obtained in a society. Many people wrongly infer that stability is needed first for the democratic process to move forward and self-government is the end product of a democracy. Freedom is something that develops once all three of the above conditions exist. While it is true that freedom spawns once all conditions are first met, the order of establishing the first three conditions seems to be misunderstood.

Stages to Freedom: 1-Democracy 2-Self-Government 3-Stability

Iraq's Election, And What Comes Next
Clive Crook/National Journal Original Article

Interviewed on Meet the Press last weekend, John Kerry never wavered: Invited to say he was impressed by the turnout in Iraq's election, he declined, saying that it had been merely "as expected." By whom? Was anybody else as optimistic last week as Kerry says he was? Most people had been dreading -- or, depending on where they stood, contentedly expecting -- an election where nobody showed up. Unlike the junior senator from Massachusetts, most of the world was surprised that so many Iraqis defied the country's murderous insurgents and stood proudly in line to cast their votes.

Diplomacy and threats of war

If Bush is now gunning for anyone, it’s Syria not Iran
Andrew Sullivan/Time Online(UK) Original Article

What will be the Bush administration’s foreign policy in the second term? Condoleezza Rice, the newly confirmed secretary of state, will have briefed her British counterpart by now but much of Washington is out of the loop.

The EU, the US, Iran and the arms embargo on China

Behind the smiles
Times Online(UK) Original Article

Condoleezza Rice, the new US Secretary of State, is a skilled diplomat and used that quality to good effect in London yesterday. She will, if possible, be as determined to be as pleasant at every stage of her whirlwind trip of continental Europe and the Middle East. Nor will this be a brief charge followed by a prolonged respite back in Washington. She has pledged that either herself or Robert Zoellick, an astute choice as Deputy Secretary of State, will visit every EU and Nato capital in the next few months. There were complaints that General Colin Powell disliked travelling during the first Bush Administration. The Rice-Zoellick team will have no difficulty accumulating air miles.

Two incidents highlight the mainstream media's defects and biases.

Media Notes
Hugh Hewitt/The Weekly Standard Original Article

BECAUSE I HAD TO FILE this column before President Bush gave his State of the Union address, I can only hope he called Democrats on their indifference to the medium- and long-term threats to Social Security. The decision by Democrats and their friends in media and blogosphere to downplay the obvious problems with the program is the fiscal equivalent of having a healthcare policy that is indifferent to teenage smoking because the consequences of such a habit are far down the road.

It's time to make those doom-mongers eat their words

Still they won't admit they got Iraq wrong
Con Coughlin/The Telegraph (UK) Original Article

Last Sunday evening, as Iraq's historic election was drawing to a close, I was invited to the BBC's Television Centre at White City to discuss the day's events. Sitting in the green room, I came across Dr Salah al-Shaikhly, Iraq's ambassador to London and an old friend from his days in the exiled Iraqi opposition movement. Dr al-Shaikhly, who is a close ally of Ayad Allawi, Iraq's interim prime minister, could not wait for his appearance to acclaim the success of the first truly independent elections that had taken place since Iraq's creation by the British in the 1920s.

Democratic party's Hell Week; It just keeps getting worse and worse

The Dems' Week from Hell
Noemie Emery/The Weekly Standard Original Article

THE DEMOCRATS' WORST WEEK AND a half since Black Tuesday (November 2, 2004, when the U.S. election returns came in) began on January 18, when Barbara Boxer took on Condi Rice in the Senate, and ended on Black Sunday (January 30, 2005, when Iraq held its first free election). In one comparatively short window of time, the Democrats managed to exhibit all of the class, grace, wisdom, presence, good sense, and strategic and tactical brilliance that had allowed them to move from absolute parity after the 2000 election to the loss of the House, Senate, and White House in the 2004 election, and left them apparently poised to lose even more. You too can turn yourself into a loser if you study and follow their recent behavior, and the cases to look at are these:

Light bulbs are turning on all over the place: Saudi Arabia, Europe, Israel, Palestine, Libya; Need to get Syria and Iran to see the light

Saudis Confront Extremist Ideologies
Craig Whitlock/Washington Post Original Article

As it faces an armed revolt from within, Saudi Arabia is gradually confronting a painful issue that was long taboo: whether the religious traditions of the kingdom have promoted Islamic terrorism. Radical clerics, accustomed to preaching violence against unbelievers, are being watched more closely. The government says about 2,000 have been removed from their mosques in the past three years.

Just takes some folks awhile to understand they were wrong; freedom is a universal principle and democracy sires freedom

European Bitterness Over Iraq Dissipates
Robin Wright/Washington Post Original Article

The war over the war is almost over. Courtesy of the large turnout in Iraq's election a week ago, the United States and key European allies are beginning to make up after two years of bitterly strained relations over the U.S. invasion of Iraq. In large part because of the images of millions of Iraqis voting in defiance of insurgents, Condoleezza Rice's debut in Europe as secretary of state is being greeted with striking warmth and a rush of expectations about the healing of transatlantic ties.

Great analogy between Washington's troops and Iraqi security personnel

Don't Forget the Iraqi Troops
Donald Rumsfeld/WSJ Opinion Original Article

Last Sunday the world witnessed the courage and strength of millions of Iraqis who were determined to take ownership of their country. Braving threats of bombs and beheadings, the Iraqi people rejected the extremism that fuels attacks on civilized people. Iraqi voters proudly raised their ink-stained fingers as well deserved badges of honor. Yet in addition to the brave millions who voted, thousands of other Iraqis have gone mostly unheralded--those security personnel who have served with courage as they work to return stability to their country and battle the insurgency.

Diplomacy continues with Iran over nuclear issue

Australia Mediating U.S.-Iran Nuclear Stand-Off
Staff/Reuters on Yahoo Original Article

Australia had become a mediator in a nuclear stand-off between Iran and the United States, Prime Minister John Howard said on Sunday, in a move that mirrors Australia's role in the North Korea nuclear crisis.

US ready to help the sides sustain their momentum

Rice Dives Into Heart of Middle East Peacemaking
Saul Hudson and Megan Goldin/Reuters on Yahoo Original Article

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice hopes to drive the Israelis and Palestinians closer to peace in Jerusalem on Sunday on her first visit as secretary of state to the heart of their conflict. Criticized for too little involvement in Middle East peace efforts in his first term, President Bush sent his top diplomat to the region to back up his pledge to press harder for an end to the conflict in his next four years.

Rice: Prepping the battlefield in Europe

Rice Urges Russia on Democracy Commitment
Anne Gearan/AP on Yahoo Original Article

Russia needs to show a commitment to a free press and other "basics of democracy," and cooperate with former Soviet republics such as Georgia and Ukraine where democracy is taking hold, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Saturday.

Oil-for-food review of Annan's papers: We will see how ugly this gets

Oil-for-Food Probe Eyes Annan Papers
Desmond Butler/AP on Yahoo Original Article

Investigators probing alleged corruption at the United Nations oil-for-food program are scrutinizing thousands of pages of U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan's documents, including e-mail and phone records, to determine whether he exerted influence in securing a contract for a Swiss company that employed his son.