Olivier Guitta at Counterterroism Blog points out that French Prime Minister deVillepin is dissembling about the recent riots and disorder in France. de Villepin plays down the riots in an interview on CNN: "I am not sure you can call them riots. It's very different from the
situation you have known in 1992 in L.A. for example. You had at that
time 54 people that died, and you had 2,000 people wounded. In France
during the 2 weeks period of unrest, nobody died in France. So, I think
you can't compare this social unrest with any kind of riots." Guitta has him there. "Because without counting the 56-year-old man that was savagely murdered
by three Muslim thugs because he was taking a picture a few hours
before the start of the riots, two people died during the month of what
Villepin coldly calls "social unrest". In fact, a man was murdered by
rioters in the lobby of his building while protecting the entrance; a
second man died of a heart attack while protecting a school and running
after some thugs who wanted to vandalize it. So if three dead
law-abiding citizens count for none, then obviously Villepin has no
regard for his fellow countrymen." Plus, we can't forget the huge destruction of property that occurred over the two weeks.
Guitta refers to another very interesting article he wrote for the Jerusalem Post in June 2005, that discusses the politics of Sarkazy (who is more allied with the U.S.) vs. de Villepin and gives us some insight into the French political scene.
It is downright fascinating to see how the Democrats are positioning themselves after the President's dynamite speech on Iraq this morning. The President laid it out -- we are making progress, the Iraqi's are taking responsibility and growing their skills, and Iraq will be a success if we persevere. So, not too surprisingly, Nancy Pelosi is in the cut-and-run camp. On the other hand, Senator Hillary Clinton, positioning herself carefully, suggests that the time to begin bringing troops home is in 2006. Well, this is interesting as it sounds like that might, in fact, happen under the "Bush Plan" if things keep progressing. Senator Kerry is obviously triangulating for a presidential run too: "[T]he best way to stand up for the troops is to provide the best policy for success." Yup, that's true, and maybe the Bush administration is on track for success. According to the Washington Post, Kerry argued: ""No one has ever suggested or believes that we should run in the face
of car bombers or assassins," Kerry said, referring to a passage in
Bush's speech. "No one is talking about running in the face of a
challenge. We're talking about how to win, how to succeed, how do you
best achieve our goals? That's the choice here. And what the president
did not do today again is acknowledge the fundamental reality of the
insurgency."" Well, this is a sea change in the perspective of the good Senator Kerry who is now talking about how we can win in Iraq, not how we crawl away as quickly as possible.
Betsy's Page highlights Max Boot's on-target commentary in the LA Times about why we can't trust democrats on issues of national security and defense. Their recent vacillations certainly don't instill any confidence! We do need to support the exceptions to this, particularly Joe Lieberman who has been consistent and just published an excellent statement in OpinionJournal. However, as you can get a hint of in the comments to this PrawfsBlawg entry, skepticism over Lieberman's views is rampant (and this is one of the more polite blogs).
The Washington Post reports this morning that the French are considering making it harder for foreign students and foreign-born relatives of French residents to enter the country. The lower House of Parliament also voted for increased video surveillance of public places and more strict monitoring of international travel by French residents. Sarkozy was back in the news indicating that France should have "selective immigration." Almost as a footnote, the article notes that the French anti-terrorism police arrested six suspected Islamic radicals on Tuesday. Reading this description of 2003 immigration changes in France, and this more academic treatise by Mireille Rosello on changes in the 1990's make me wonder whether the new laws have any change in meaning or will have any effect.
Bruce Bartlett sums it up pretty well -- after 40 years of Democratic corruption ending in the mid-term elections in 1994, we've now had a little over 10 years of Republican leadership on the Hill and look where its gotten us! Apparently, election to our Congress gives those in power the right to spend our money for things we don't need (like bridges to no-where in Alaska), and to engage in illegal bribes, cronyism, and mutual back-scratching. The latest appalling example is Congressman Cunningham, from Southern California. The Washington Post reports: "Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham (R-Calif.) resigned from Congress
yesterday after tearfully confessing to evading taxes and conspiring to
pocket $2.4 million in bribes, including a Rolls-Royce, a yacht and a
19th-century Louis-Philippe commode."
Somehow, I doubt that those of us without fancy cars, a yacht or exquisite commode are sympathetic to the Congressman's plight. As Lawrence Reed points out, one of the fundamental principles of public policy is: "Nobody spends somebody else's money as carefully as he spends his own." Thanks to Hugh Hewitt for that reference. More commentary at Chequer-Board and Daily Pundit. In a Washington Post commentary, Jeffrey Birnbaum describes the broader picture and increasing unhappiness among the American electorate.
The Washington Post has a very interesting article talking about the legal migration of workers within the European Union. The author follows a worker from Latvia who goes to Ireland, which is one of the most successful economies in Europe today. (See my earlier post.) The BBC discusses some of the more difficult issues in Ireland, particularly dealing with those seeking asylum. Similar migrations are occuring in England and even Sweden, according to the International Herald Tribune.
If you're not sure we're doing the right thing in Iraq, or even if you are, then take a look at Michael Yon's recent post with photos of the kids of Iraq today. Boys and girls in class together, happy, alert, excited, the way it should be.
Unfortunately, this has become a real admonition. According to the New York Times, the bedbugs are biting in residences and hotels of all socio-economic levels in New York City. Another article at the New Yorker provides a little more personal view. Comments at Chequer-Board, who would like to know how he can be sure not to encounter the little beasties. neo-neocon has some excerpts from the article, and also discusses the loss of DDT. Here's a 2004 National Geographic article on the resurgence of bedbugs. Harvard has an info sheet on what to do if you suspect or have an infestation. I think that I will be careful if I travel to NYC!