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The Conundrum of Fallujah

I kind of felt sick when I read that Fallujah had fallen to the insurgents/Al Qaeda remnants in Iraq. It’s kind of sad when you think of all of the  blood that we spilled and now it seems that we did that for nothing. If you don’t remember, there was a huge battle for Fallujah back in 2003 and another huge battle in 2004. Americans lost over 150 servicemen.

From USA Today:

Al-Qaeda militants have seized Fallujah, a key city in western Iraq, engaging Iraqi army forces in pitched battles there in a brazen challenge to Iraq’s central government.

“The whole of Fallujah is taken,” said Qasim Abed, a member of the provincial council in the region and the former governor of Anbar. “The situation is very bad.”

Abed was reached Saturday by phone from his home in Ramadi, the capital of Anbar, a mostly Sunni region west of Baghdad. He said militants have occupied police stations and government buildings throughout Fallujah and are also controlling limited parts of Ramadi. (more…)

By |2014-01-07T20:17:52-04:00January 6th, 2014|Iraq|Comments Off on The Conundrum of Fallujah

Sunday afternoon News Roundup

  • Sergio Garcia is fading at the Byron Nelson Championship in Dallas, Texas. Whatever he thought he fixed in his mental game isn’t fixed. Currently, Joe Ogilvie leads by one stroke.
  • I find it interesting that Fox News has decided to keep Sarah Palin on the payroll since it’s clear that she is now exploring a presidential run. They dropped Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum as soon as they were considering a presidential run but not Sarah Palin. Why? Is it that Sarah Palin isn’t really considering a presidential run? Maybe Sarah Palin is doing her Donald Trump bit and simply trying to drum up publicity for herself. She’s been able to cash that publicity in and make some significant money (just bought a new house in Arizona).
  • No matter how much the public thinks that Paul Ryan’s budget balancing, Medicare killing plan is wrong for America, the Republicans are continuing to push it. If you’re in a hole, I guess you can do one of three things – stop digging, continue digging or try to climb out of the hole. Republicans have decided to continue digging.
  • The LA Times has a nice and very long discussion on Bruce Ivins, who was the odd researcher accused in the anthrax killings. I’m still not convinced that this is the guy. Yep, he is weird, but being weird isn’t a crime.
  • President Obama is in Joplin, Missouri today. My heart and prayers continue to go out to the residents of Joplin.

  • I really dislike politicians who in front of the cameras in Washington talk about cutting this and cutting that but when they’re at home in front of their constituents they’re bashing the government for not doing more. Today’s example is Representative Lou Barletta of Pennsylvania. He voted to cut EPA funding; yet, in front of his constituents is complaining that the EPA is not doing more.
  • Former Senator John Ensign is hoping that the Department of Justice cannot use incriminating e-mails which will surely land him in jail. Basically, as I understand it, the Senate Ethics Committee could obtain evidence in multiple different ways which may not be transferable to the Department of Justice. For more information on this legal conundrum read this.
  • I continue to be amazed at how the Republicans are trying to sell this “cut and grow” idea to the American people. Republicans, including House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, continue to try to sell the American people on trickle-down theory. If all we did was cut this or that money would then roll down to small business and small businesses would thrive. Over the last 30 years we’ve tried this theory so many times and as a whole it hasn’t worked. The one thing that is clear with trickle-down theory is that the rich get richer.
  • So far, I think the most interesting candidate on the Republican side is Mitt Romney. He’s trying to walk a tight rope. He’s trying to play up his credentials as a financial wiz but the same time separate himself from the Wall Street Christians and against that which nearly destroyed our economy. He has the same type of balancing act with healthcare. He can’t support the national healthcare reform that was passed by Congress last year or he’ll alienate many Republicans. At the same time, he’s trying to push his own credentials as a healthcare fixer because of what he passed in Massachusetts, which is almost identical to the national healthcare reform plan. Finally, lots of evangelical Christians are unsure if they can embrace a Mormon. It is difficult if not impossible to win enthusiastic Republican support without the support of evangelical Christians.
  • The New York Times is trying to tell me that their coverage is so great that I should pay $35 per month for their award-winning reporting. It seems to me that the Wall Street Journal has outstanding coverage also. They’re asking me to pay a third less than the New York Times. What’s up with that? Are the Washington Post and the LA Times going to follow suit? One of the distinct advantages of the Internet was that I was able to access multiple different sources of information. Am I going to have to shell out money for this information? Is advertising revenue down that much?
  • Everyone is not flocking to the theaters just because the movie is in 3-D. For some reason this is a surprise to Hollywood. (Psst, Hollywood… we will sit down and look at movies that are entertaining and enjoyable. More like Thor and less like the Green Hornet.) As a whole, I haven’t found the 3-D experience to be all that additive to a excellently written film. I just saw the movie Thor and I didn’t think that the three-dimensional qualities were helpful at all. BTW, I’m looking forward to seeing Kung Fu Panda 2. I really enjoyed the first one. I”m hoping that they, the producers, don’t screw this sequel up.

So what’s on your mind the Sunday afternoon?

By |2011-05-29T16:53:00-04:00May 29th, 2011|Budget, Environment, Healthcare, Sports|Comments Off on Sunday afternoon News Roundup

Update: Obama Moving to the Center

Progressives, including myself, have become somewhat disillusioned over the last couple of days as we watched our candidate seem to drop some of his core beliefs and move towards the center. I have no problem with a politician changing their mind. Heck, if President Bush would have changed his mind, we could have had our troops home four years ago. So, changing one’s mind is not necessarily a bad thing. What made Senator Barack Obama different was that he offered a new kind of politics, one that was not about political calculation but instead was about doing the right thing. Over the last seven days, it seems that we are seeing political calculation more than anything else.

The FISA bill may pose a conundrum for some politicians. Some may believe that they will be portrayed as weak and “supporting the terrorists” if they oppose this piece of legislation. I believe that there are two principles at stake with this legislation. First, all spying on Americans with regards to national intelligence should go through the FISA courts. Remember that during Alberto Gonzales’s tenure, the Bush White House decided that the FISA courts were too slow and too cumbersome. Therefore, they bypassed the court. This piece of legislation will prevent that bypass (in theory). Secondly, this piece of legislation offers immunity to the telecoms. I think the telecoms you get immunity if I can also get immunity from not paying my taxes for the next five years. I’m just saying…

So in this legislation there is a small sliver of good and a larger slice of bad.

Faith-based initiatives were a cornerstone of President Bush’s 2000 campaign. Unfortunately, as we have now found out, they were more about funneling money into the pockets of people that Bush liked. The program was less about helping the poor or decreasing inner-city violence. As a matter of fact, it had nothing to do with those kind of charitable issues. The program was about keeping the religious evangelicals in support of the Bush administration. Therefore, programs like intelligent design, abstinence-only, and similar programs were pushed by this faith-based initiative.
Obama’s proposal is not an update on Bush’s program, but instead it’s a complete reform or overhaul on this program. Anyone who has read his book The Audacity of Hope, understands that Obama is a man of faith. They should also understand that faith plays an important part in his life. I don’t necessarily have a problem with this. I’ll wait and see how things shake out.

Now Obama’s recent stance on NAFTA is a little bit more confusing. During the primaries, it appeared that Obama wanted to take a hard look at this treaty and possibly renegotiate some of aspects. Recent statements seem to contradict this. For the last eight years, “free trade” has meant more profits for companies and more layoffs of American workers. This trend must stop if we are going to restore the middle class.

As a matter of fact, I’m surprised that Mexico hasn’t tried to renegotiate this deal. Jobs that originally went to Mexico have now gone to China, Indonesia, and Malaysia. Why? Mexico was too expensive so it is now left with empty factories. Relatedly, the U.S. has unemployed workers, idle factories, and larger mansions.

I have not seen any convincing evidence to show that NAFTA has helped the American worker. If I am shown convincing evidence, I’ll rethink my position but currently I will support most measures that will strengthen unions and help the American worker. So I don’t think I can agree with Obama in this situation. (more…)

By |2008-07-02T23:15:16-04:00July 2nd, 2008|Civil Liberty, Domestic Spying, Election 2008|3 Comments
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