Friday, May 11, 2007


At the end of this video clip (you may have to watch a brief ad first) an impassioned woman parliamentarian pleads with the US not to withdraw and abandon Iraq to its chaos, since, she says, we caused it by drawing al Qaida to Iraq. Her appeal not only has logical consistency, it tugged at my conscience, too. I hate when that happens.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Come September?

We're told that September is a make-or-break deadline for Bush's surge, but I think it may come earlier. If, as scheduled, the Iraqi parliament takes its two-month summer recess starting in July without resolving the "benchmark" legislative logjams over proposed constitutional amendments, power sharing and an "oil law," even US Republicans will jump off Bush's ship of state.

Corporate takeover of everything?

This article describes an emerging phenomenon: privatization of public infrastructure. The reasons for it--providing ready cash for strapped local governments, reducing costs of upkeep and labor and thus lowering local taxes--seem so attractive to governments that the trend feels irrestible. The results, however, are appalling, as detailed in the article. Once all highways and bridges are owned by GM or Burger King or by blind trusts of investors (including, likely, foreigners) can our colleges be far behind? UCLA renamed FedEx U (or UPSU?), the Washington Huskies becoming the Starbucks, the Berkeley campus changed to Nike U?

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Just so you know...

I'm not a liberal party-liner on all issues. For example, although I understand that science has by now definitively established that our planet is growing warmer and (to a lesser degree of certainty) that an increase of "greenhouse gasses" contributes to the warming, I remain unconvinced that "human causes," such as emission of pollutants, destruction of forests, asphalting of cities, are significant factors in the process. A documentary that draws these distinctions may be found here. No slap at Al Gore intended: I'd like him to enter the presidential race at all events.

However, nothwithstanding my hesitancy to buy the entire "man-made warming" argument, I still believe we should stop ravaging the Amazon forest, stop driving fossil-fuel vehicles, stop many of the practices we've devoloped that render our planet less habitable and cause global conflict. I do so, however, not (yet, anyway) out of a founded fear of the effects of these actions on the temperature of Earth, but rather because I like the Earth the way it was, with abundant wildlife, clean water, clean air, open space--all that good stuff. Indeed, I believe a major contributor to the degradation of the planet is our exploding populations in the "third world"--which will be exacerbated by the imminent shift of many nations of that world from "third" to "second" or even "first," as countries become more industrialized.

So, I fret for our planet, just like a good liberal. But not for all the "right" (or is it "left"?) reasons.

This is sovereignty?

From the Iraqslogger:

"In other news, Az-Zaman reported that yesterday’s parliamentary session had to be postponed due to the absence of the speaker and the vice-chairs.
According to the newspaper, the deputies who came to attend had to suffer from the lack of air conditioning in the parliament hall, because US troops refused to allow the tankers carrying fuel for the parliament’s generators from entering the Green Zone -– where the parliament is located."

Interpreting the violence

In today's post, Professor Juan Cole attempts to explain the bases for the various acts of violence in Iraq: a carbombing in a Shiite city, another in a Sunni area, a third in Fallujah, plus the "smaller" attacks throughout the nation. He's an expert on the region but is the first to concede that his explanations are speculative. But even so, the varying reasons for the various attacks demonstrates how out of control the situation is throughout Iraq, and why leaving our troops there to umpire this madness is nuts.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Scary numbers

For a long time Bush's approval ratings in national polls have hovered in the mid-30's. This is lately being mirrored in the Rasmussen polls, which does a daily sampling and usually tracks a bit higher, in terms of Bush's approval, because it asks people if they "somewhat approve" as well as whether they "strongly approve" and then the poll combines the two percentages for the overall approval rating.

Rasmussen also asks respondents if they "somewhat disapprove" and if they "strongly disapprove," and here's where the numbers are shocking. While the "somewhat" level has remained relatively constant at about 15%, the "strongly disapprove" has lately soared, as of yesterday (5/7) reaching 46%. Now that's freaky. Almost a majority who find themselves urgently opposed to the nation's leader. Doesn't this mean that an attack on Iran is inevitable?

Dennis on YouTube

Here's Kucinich's spot on YouTube, apparently to appeal to young, hip voters. And you wonder why he's going nowhere? (And who's that lady behind him, towering over him, mugging at the camera? It's apparently his new wife, Elizabeth. So, why not introduce her and then move her a foot or two to the right?) And his quick, geeky speech: For christsakes, is this the best candidate the Left can put up?

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Which adage applies?

This story about American troops' concern about Iraqi's army wholesale arresting and imprisoning of innocent Iraqis. Is it, "Pot calling the kettle black," or "Do as I say, not as I do"? Or is it simply, "Shut the fuck up, gringos, and get out of my country!"

Finally, Bush and al Qaida agree on something

Both are opposed to the Democrats' plan to withdraw US forces from Iraq.