At least 121 dead in Baghdad market suicide bombing.
Saturday, February 3, 2007
Friday, February 2, 2007
PARIS - Scientists from 113 countries issued a landmark report Friday saying they have little doubt global warming is caused by man, and predicting that hotter temperatures and rises in sea level will “continue for centuries” no matter how much humans control their pollution.
A top U.S. government scientist, Susan Solomon, said “there can be no question that the increase in greenhouse gases are dominated by human activities.”
Environmental campaigners urged the United States and other industrial nations to significantly cut their emissions of greenhouse gases in response to the long-awaited report by Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
The 21-page report represents the most authoritative science on global warming as the panel comprises hundreds of scientists and representatives. It only addresses how and why the planet is warming, not what to do about it. Another report by the panel later this year will address the most effective measures for slowing global warming.
There comes a point when we, as a society, need to tune out the crazies whose ideas would be a detriment to our way of life. I think that time has come. No longer should we even listen to the nutters who claim Global Warming isn’t happening, or isn’t manmade. It is important to us, as a civilization, to begin acting on this threat, and if that means we need to let the nutters on the right babble on with false claims, simply because they are not smart enough to understand science, in a small dark room somewhere, while we make meaningful policy to save ourselves, then so be it.
Why we even give the opinions of the politicos on the right any weight compared to scientists is beyond me, but it needs to end. Most nutters don’t even believe in science, anyway.
Technorati Tags: Republicans•Global Warming•Science•Nutters
From the little details that have come out of the Iraq NIE, one thing is clear. Whatever good happens in Iraq, it will have to come from within, not from a foreign power trying to accelerate change.
In a discussion of whether Iraq has reached a state of civil war, the 90-page classified NIE comes to no conclusion and holds out prospects of improvement. But it couches glimmers of optimism in deep uncertainty about whether the Iraqi leaders will be able to transcend sectarian interests and fight against extremists, establish effective national institutions and end rampant corruption.
The document emphasizes that although al-Qaeda activities in Iraq remain a problem, they have been surpassed by Iraqi-on-Iraqi violence as the primary source of conflict and the most immediate threat to U.S. goals. Iran, which the administration has charged with supplying and directing Iraqi extremists, is mentioned but is not a focus.
Completion of the estimate, which projects events in Iraq over the next 18 months, comes amid intensifying debate and skepticism on Capitol Hill about the administration's war policy. In a series of contentious hearings over the past two weeks, legislators have sharply questioned Bush's new plan for the deployment of 21,500 additional U.S. troops and the administration's dependence on the government of Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.
Other Bloggers: Capitol Hill Blue
Technorati Tags: Republicans•Congress•NIE•Iraq
Sunday, January 14, 2007
Republicans in the new House are fully taking advantage of their minority status. As they are no longer the majority, they are free to break away from their far-right base, in order to side with the more… umm, sane.
Freed from the pressures of being the majority and from the heavy hand of former leaders including retired representative Tom DeLay (R-Tex.), many back-bench Republicans are showing themselves to be more moderate than their conservative leadership and increasingly mindful of shifting voter sentiment. The closest vote last week -- Friday's push to require the federal government to negotiate lower drug prices for Medicare -- pulled 24 Republicans. The Democrats' homeland security bill attracted 68 Republicans, the minimum wage increase 82.
"You're freer to vote your conscience," said Rep. Jo Anne Emerson (R-Mo.), who received an 88 percent voting record from the American Conservative Union in 2005 but has so far sided with Democrats on new budget rules, Medicare prescription-drug negotiations, raising the minimum wage and funding stem cell research. "Or, really, I feel free to represent my constituents exactly as they want me to be."
November showed a rejection of far-right policy, and most Republicans realize this. Through the run-up to 2008, Republicans will abandon their far-right roots, realizing that America is not this, like, Christian Conservative theocracy that the Right would have you believe. Being a hardnosed Conservative will not get you elected in most areas, and finally Repubs are catching on, and changing their platform to reflect that.
Perhaps the hijacking of the Republican Party, by the nutters, has finally stopped.
Other Bloggers: Spacious Reasoning•Below The Beltway•Oliver Willis
Technorati Tags: Republicans•Congress•Conservatives•Democrats
Friday, January 12, 2007
Because of school (those bitches blasted me with work on the first day), I wasn’t able to live blog the Iraq speech, or really even post anything about it until now. I did watch the speech, and obviously, as most people know, the escalation plan is nothing new, nothing different, and nothing that will solve any problem in Iraq. If anything, this escalation plan is a plan to escalate into other countries.
Zbigniew Brzezinski outlines most of the problems in a column in today’s WaPo.
· The commitment of 21,500 more troops is a political gimmick of limited tactical significance and of no strategic benefit. It is insufficient to win the war militarily. It will engage U.S. forces in bloody street fighting that will not resolve with finality the ongoing turmoil and the sectarian and ethnic strife, not to mention the anti-American insurgency.
This is the weirdest thing about Bush’s plan. No matter what anyone says, this plan doesn’t really do anything. It’s simply a pretend plan… and I can’t figure out what the point of it even is. MSNBC (which had the.best. post speech coverage) brought up the point that that number needs to be cut in quarters, as troops need to sleep, and that that is the true number of extra troops on the ground at all other time. Simply, I will pass 5275 people on the road today as I travel to work.
We’ll see how this evolves, but let me be the first (well, really, like the 1000000000th person) to call this policy a simple failure.
Technorati Tags: Bush•Iraq•Surge•Escalation
Wednesday, January 10, 2007
According to the Kansas City Star, education and sanity may return to Kansas schools.
TOPEKA | Now controlled by moderates, the Kansas Board of Education wasted little time in beginning the repeal of science curriculum standards that cast doubt on the theory of evolution.
So, what kind of great science minds are trying to limit the teaching of evolution?
“Evolution as it’s taught today is bad science,” said Doug Kaufman of Leavenworth. “It’s unproveable.”
Oh… the kind that doesn’t even know anything about science, and thinks that it deals with proofs.
Technorati Tags: Evolution•Kansas•Science•Creationism
Today’s WaPo outlines Bush’s obvious change in policy when it comes to listening to the commanders in Iraq.
When President Bush goes before the American people tonight to outline his new strategy for Iraq, he will be doing something he has avoided since the invasion of Iraq in March 2003: ordering his top military brass to take action they initially resisted and advised against.
Bush talks frequently of his disdain for micromanaging the war effort and for second-guessing his commanders. "It's important to trust the judgment of the military when they're making military plans," he told The Washington Post in an interview last month. "I'm a strict adherer to the command structure."
But over the past two months, as the security situation in Iraq has deteriorated and U.S. public support for the war has dropped, Bush has pushed back against his top military advisers and the commanders in Iraq: He has fashioned a plan to add up to 20,000 troops to the 132,000 U.S. service members already on the ground. As Bush plans it, the military will soon be "surging" in Iraq two months after an election that many Democrats interpreted as a mandate to begin withdrawing troops.
Bush has no choice but to ignore the people who know what they are talking about, because, quite frankly, Bush is only left with three choices, and two of them just aren’t in his, like, creepy makeup to accept.
First, Bush could do absolutely nothing. He could continue on, continuing on, while we are handedly defeated in Iraq. This is obviously a horrible idea, and one that even Bush wouldn’t think about continuing.
Second, Bush could pull out of Iraq and leave the Iraq civil war up to Iraqi citizens to take care of. This is the most sensible, but an idea that Bush is unable to accept. I fully believe that Bush is unable to pick this choice, to leave Iraq, because if he does, it’s a sign that his presidency was a complete failure. Bush will, and is, putting the lives of our men and women in jeopardy simply to take a chance at saving his legacy.
The third choice, and the one that Bush is choosing, is to attempt to send more troops into Iraq, in an effort to draw this war out long enough that it won’t be his problem any longer. It’s frightening to think that this is what’s happening, but I don’t see any other reason why Bush is, contrary to every single voice in this country (the few that say send many more troops and the overwhelming amount that are saying get out), deciding to go down this path.
Without pressure from Democrats, this war will be pushed off for two more years, until a new President is in place to make the call that should be made now.
Technorati Tags: Bush•Iraq•Surge•Escalation
Tuesday, January 9, 2007
Most Americans are soundbiters, people who do not dig deep into politics and news, but instead listen and read simple soundbites, soundbites that can be printed or aired without any concern to facts. It’s not that Americans are stupid, it’s just that busy lives keep people from prowling the 24 hour news stations, blogs, and online news sources (not that I do… really….).
Tomorrow, when Bush announces his escalation plan (which I‘ll be live blogging *ahem*), very few Americans will really fully understand what is going on, as the soundbites that come out of it will most likely not tell the whole story. It’s important to look for many things in this plan, and frame them in a way that the facts will allow.
• Will Bush’s plan actually contain anything new, other than more troops? There will be padding to make the escalation seem more sweet, but will any of it actually matter? Will Bush just simply promise to try harder and set goals where no action will be taken if they are not met? Or, will Bush set clear benchmarks that must be met, complete with penalties in case these benchmarks can’t be fulfilled?
• Will Bush explain why he isn’t listening to the American people, most of Congress, or the soldiers and leadership in Iraq? Will he explain why he knows more than all of these people, and who exactly it is that he’s taking tips from?
• Will Bush undertake diplomatic policy, like the ISG report suggested?
• Will Bush explain how more troops will solve another country’s civil war?
Can Bush adapt to a roll where he is no longer solely in charge of this country? A roll where he is at odds with the American people?
It should be interesting.
Technorati Tags: Bush•Iraq•Surge•Escalation
Bush’s escalation plan is set to begin right away, according to news reports.
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- President Bush is prepared to send about 20,000 more troops to Iraq in an effort to pacify Baghdad, with the goal of handing control of the country to Iraqi troops by November, a senior administration official said Tuesday.
Most of the additional troops will be deployed in Baghdad, where American and Iraqi troops fought a 10-hour street battle with insurgents on Tuesday.
But about 4,000 would be dispatched to the restive Anbar province, the heart of the Sunni Arab insurgency, the senior official said.
The first troops in the new wave could be a brigade of the 82nd Airborne Division that is already in Kuwait.
The official cautioned that the November date for Iraq control does not mean U.S. troops would withdraw by then.
The newest thing to come out here, is the idea that Iraqis will take control by November. Is this one of those, “that’s our goal, which doesn’t really mean anything, because it’s not like we’re going to actually do anything if that goal isn’t reached”, things? My guess would be, yes.
Technorati Tags: Bush•Iraq•Surge•Escalation
John McCain guest blogs over at strange, Arab obsessed Powerline, trying to drum up some escalation points from the far-far-far-far-far-far-far-farthest of the far-far-far right.
Read it, and then ask yourself why McCain is trying to gain support from the nutter minority in politics, while ignoring the important, sane, anti-Iraq majority in America.
It’s almost like they only care about one group of people….
Technorati Tags: McCain•Iraq•Surge•Escalation•Nutters
Do you want to see how people kidnap a story and use it to prop up their political beliefs, in real, live action?
Watch the way people are using the “peso’s for pizza” (Gawd, I feel dumber just writing that) story to further their immigration agenda (more can be seen on any of the 24hour newsers).
Living in Detroit, I can honestly say that at least 25 percent of the businesses around here will accept Canadian money, without even a second thought. I even worked at a fastfood place that would accept Canadian money at face value, without even making a calculation for exchange rates.
And you know what?
Not one single person ever bitches about immigration, or our country losing its “identity”.
Technorati Tags: Immigration•Peso’s For Pizza
Sally Quinn takes a step back and actually focuses on the American soldiers in today’s WaPo.
It’s nice that someone actually takes the time to think about these young men and women. As many times as the Right uses our troops to further their liberal bashing agenda (you know, the soldiers snub Kerry, lie) , they never seem to actually want what is good for the troops.
We have three choices here. All three are immoral. We can keep the status quo and gradually pull out; we can surge; or we can pull out now. When I think about those young soldiers on that plane coming back from Japan years ago, I believe pulling out now is the least immoral choice.
This is one of the truest things I’ve seen written. No matter what some would have you believe, we will eventually pull our troops out. This surge is not going to solve the civil war in Iraq, and Bush seems to not have the ability to do the things that will actually calm the violence. So, what we are left with is a simple escalation plan that will kill and injure more of our men and women, before the inevitable withdrawal.
The question everyone needs to ask themselves is why.
Why are we going to send more of our people to die?
Why can’t we just skip the deadly step and get to the inevitable point of withdrawal?
Why are the people who use “support our troops” as a political platform the least likely to truly support our troops?
Technorati Tags: Soldiers•Surge•Iraq•Escalation
Monday, January 8, 2007
•From the WaPo -
Democratic leaders who had hoped to emphasize their domestic agenda in the opening weeks of Congress have concluded that Iraq will share top billing, and they plan on aggressively confronting administration officials this week in a series of hearings.
Pushed by House members who want a quick, tough response to the Iraq strategy President Bush is expected to announce this week, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has backed off from her initial assertion that nothing should detract attention from the legislation she hopes to pass in the first 100 hours of House debate.
This is what happens when you have people representing you and actually listening to you.
Contrary to what the nutosphere claims, Americans are not opposed to troop withdrawal and the Democrats realize this. Without a hardnosed stance to Bush’s escalation policy, the Democrats are in danger of alienating voters. Their domestic plan is good, but that most important issue of our time is the Iraq war. Nothing good will come out of ignoring it, while leaving it in the hands of Bush, who’s already bungled it beyond belief.
•Deb Price, a columnist at the Detroit News, has posted a column explaining that the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy is no longer needed.
W hile serving in Iraq and South Korea during his five-year Army career, Specialist Patrick English came out to about 50 fellow soldiers.
The enlisted man never had a problem, even in group showers -- which are increasingly uncommon -- with heterosexual military men who knew he was gay.
I never understood why the army allowed this discrimination. Even if soldiers were fearful of gays (which is no longer the case), that doesn’t mean that we should discriminate against them. All discrimination stems from irrational fear, yet we don’t give any of that the time of day.
And, seriously, if members of our military are fearful of gays, do we really want them protecting us from enemies? All a terrorist would have to do is blow them a kiss, and they’d, like, fall down in a fit of fear. Obviously, nothing good can come of that.
•Just in case any of you wondered, Wesley Clark is still against escalation.
The odds are that this week President Bush will announce a "surge" of up to 20,000 additional U.S. troops into Iraq. Will this deliver a "win"? Probably not. But it will distract us from facing the deep-seated regional issues that must be resolved.
The administration views a troop surge of modest size as virtually the only remaining action in Iraq that would be a visible signal of determination. More economic assistance is likely to be touted, but absent a change in the pattern of violence, infrastructure enhancement simply isn't practical.
Clark’s entire OpEd paints a picture of an administration that still doesn’t seem to understand what is happening in Iraq and how to solve the problem.
Most telling is this statement -
Vicious ethnic cleansing is underway, as various factions fight for power and survival. In this environment, security is unlikely to come from smothering the struggle with a blanket of forces -- and increasing U.S. efforts is likely to generate additional resistance, especially from Iraq's neighbors. More effective action is needed to resolve the struggle at the political level. A new U.S. ambassador might help, but the administration needs to recognize that the neoconservative vision has failed.
Uhhh, ya think?
Nothing about the war should be left to this administration… an administration who still doesn’t understand that situation in Iraq and still doesn’t understand that a military solution is not real
Technorati Tags: Bush•Surge•Iraq•Escalation•Democrats•Congress•Don‘t Ask Don‘t Tell•Gay