Need to Know is a short roundup of key stories that shouldn’t be missed on your cruise through the blogosphere. The number of links in the roundup may vary but if you find it here you can trust that it’s must-read material.

Homeland Security Watch | The financial fallout from a terrorist nuke
As we debate the Department of Homeland Security’s proposed Securing the Cities Initiative, its worth considering the actual impact of a nuclear weapon detonated in a densely populated urban environment. Defense Canada’s R&D arm partnered with Battelle to produce a schematic illustrating a “preliminary analysis on the economic impact of a nuclear weapon event in Vancouver.”

DefenseTech | The risk of sharing
One of the American military’s strongest advantages in ground combat is its ownership of the night. IR markers, glint tape and IR illuminators are key to nighttime fighting for US forces. If the NVG technology intended for our Afghan allies falls into the wrong hands, that advantage will quickly turn into a major vulnerability.

Times Online | We own the night
The SAS and SBS have been engaged in covert missions against al-Qaeda for four years, serving with American troops from the US Joint Special Operations Command under Lieutenant-General Stanley McCrystal. US military sources said the special forces teams had killed a total of 2,000 al-Qaeda fighters, carrying out missions at night.

Human Rights Foundation | Chavez democratizes protesters with live ammo
Mass protests shook Venezuela over the last three days as people—many of them high school and university students—took to the streets to protest this weekend’s shutdown of the Venezuelan television station Radio Caracas Television (RCTV). Severe government crackdowns included the use of live ammunition, tear gas, water cannons, rubber bullets, and riot gear. More than one hundred minors and eighty adults were in custody of the Venezuelan police as of this afternoon. Their identities and condition are being withheld by the government.

James P. Pinkerton | How the Dems can lose 2008
So when the Republicans finally found their voice on immigration, the Reagan Democrats were re-Reaganized. Finally, Republicans were speaking about realism and the national interest, always a winner for them. The Democrats tried to fight back, using the health care issue, but the GOP was ready with a response, pointing to moderate health plans enacted by Republican governors from Massachusetts to California. Finally, late in the ’08 campaign, the Democrats attempted to energize their own small base, endorsing gay marriage and repeal of the Patriot Act.
It didn’t work. The Republicans, nominating a ticket free of any close association with the outgoing administration, won a comfortable victory. And so, for the eighth time in 11 presidential elections, liberalism was defeated.

The New York Sun | Islamic extremism is a global threat – Duh
Switzerland seems to be an unlikely locus for a battle over jihadist Islamism, but according to reports, its Muslim citizens, who make up about 5% of the total population, increasingly look to radical Middle East clerics for spiritual guidance. The country is also home to a controversial professor, Tariq Ramadan, whose visa to come to America was revoked by the State Department, and reports indicate there has been a rising tension between Muslims and non-Muslims there. In what could be considered pouring fuel on a fire, two weeks ago, the League of Swiss Muslims invited Sheik Salman bin Fahd Al-Odah of Saudi Arabia to participate in their annual conference.

BuzzMachine | Newspapers are lagging. Lag = death
How many newspapers have reconfigured their staffing to reflect the new hybrid print/online reality? Why are high-paid editors and reporters uploading jpegs and podcasts when digital assistants ought to be doing the mechanical tasks? Fast-moving web companies have learned to move with audiences and make those audiences part of a community. Newspapers, for the most part, hold on to rigid models and jump on new tools (everybody blog now!) without understanding how those tools can be used.

David Limbaugh | Global Warming & Euro hypocrisy
Again, the facts are not Speaker Pelosi’s friends. According to Chris Horner’s delicious “Politically Incorrect Guide to Global Warming and Environmentalism,” Europe promised it would live up to Kyoto; it isn’t. It promised its carbon dioxide emissions would be down, but they’re up, it promised its emissions would be dropping, but they are rising. “Since 2000 they are increasing three times as fast as America’s.” No matter. Europe still lambastes America because, like good liberals, it subscribes to the axiom that good intentions mean more than results.

Gateway Pundit | A revealing photo from Iraq

Right Wing Nut House | Watching Fred Thompson
When I survey the disaster that is the current Republican party – a leaderless, rudderless, dispirited mob without a clue of how to begin fixing what’s broke – the obvious question that leaps to mind is can anything be salvaged from the current situation? Or is the GOP condemned to walk the earth like Zombies for the foreseeable future with no direction, no heart, and little in the way of motivation to animate its followers?

D-Ring | Preaching the new media gospel
I’ll be speaking at Fort Meade on June 11 to a group of students at the Defense Information School (holding down the new media front on a panel with two MSMers). I’m excited to be joining Scott Wykoff of Baltimore-Washington radio fame and Gina Cavallaro, who has made quite a name for herself at Army Times. Are you in the next Public Affairs Officer course for distance learners at DINFOS? If so, leave a comment or pop me an e-mail. I am curious to see who among the class is down with new media.

Patterico’s Pontifications | MSM Spins a Gitmo suicide
Of course, the New York Times editors who reprinted this piece might remember that they published a lengthy article in September 2006, based on interviews with over a hundred detainees and GTMO personnel, that provided extensive and detailed support for the idea that the 2006 suicides at GTMO were a publicity stunt. That article set forth clear evidence that the suicides were designed as an act of propaganda, specifically to get people across the world to believe that Gitmo was driving inmates to suicide, and had to be shut down. Have New York Times editors forgotten about that article? Is the AP unaware of it?

USA Today | DHS Taps Sci-Fi Writers for Sigma
The writers make up a group called Sigma, which Andrews put together 15 years ago to advise government officials. The last time the group gathered was in the late 1990s, when members met with government scientists to discuss what a post-nuclear age might look like, says group member Greg Bear. He has written 30 sci-fi books, including the best seller Darwin’s Radio.

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