Monday, October 16, 2006

Morning News Roundup (16 Oct)

Top Story
  • Two years ago today, Mrs. F and I hosted quite the party as we tied the knot at All Pilgrims church on Capitol Hill in Seattle, with my Aunt Judy bringing down the house at the end of the service with a great rendition of The Carpenters' "Top of the World." I can't believe it's only been two years since then, because our lives together have been so full and bursting with fun. I love you a tonne, Mrs. F., and I'm looking forward to the adventure that is the rest of our lives.

BushCo's Wars
  • The Iraq Study Group is considering two options: “withdrawing American troops in phases, and bringing neighboring Iran and Syria into a joint effort to stop the fighting.” “It’s not going to be ’stay the course,’ ” one participant said. “The bottom line is, [current U.S. policy] isn’t working… There’s got to be another way.” [ThinkProgress' ThinkFast]

  • Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki said “his government will not force militias to disarm until later this year or early next year, despite escalating violence in Baghdad fueled by death squads and religious warfare.” He also criticized the U.S.-military led coalition’s overreliance on force in Iraq, calling it the “wrong approach.” [ThinkProgress' ThinkFast]

  • The unremitting wave of sectarian violence that has greeted the Muslim holy month of Ramadan claimed scores more Iraqi lives at the weekend, as authorities in Baghdad announced the indefinite postponement of a conference of political leaders seen as crucial to quickly diminishing hopes for national reconciliation.
    The cancellation is a further blow to the credibility of the national unity government of Nuri al-Maliki. The embattled prime minister has come under intense pressure from the US and Britain, as well as ordinary Iraqis, to halt the communal violence and the activities of armed militias and death squads.

    In the weekend's most vicious act of score-settling between the Shia and Sunni Arabs, at least 63 people were killed in the town of Balad, 50 miles north of Baghdad.

    On Friday, police said the decapitated bodies of 17 Shia labourers had been found in an orchard near the town, which has a mixed Shia-Sunni population but lies in a majority Sunni area. In apparent retaliation, at least 46 Sunni Arab men were reportedly killed on Saturday and Sunday, as heavily armed, black-clad men described by one police source as being from the al-Mahdi militia of the radical cleric Moqtada al-Sadr set up fake checkpoints in the town, stopping vehicles and hauling out anyone suspected of being a Sunni. [The Guardian]

  • Britain is so short of helicopters in Afghanistan that military chiefs are being forced to scour the world for civilian aircraft to support its troops after the US rejected a plea to help plug the shortfall.

    An ageing fleet of just eight Chinooks is working around the clock to supply and reinforce soldiers in remote outposts facing waves of Taliban attacks. The only Chinook in the Falklands was taken away for use in the campaign. [The Independent]

  • In a report released on Friday, the United Nation's refugee agency (UNHCR) said it was concerned over the increase in the number of displaced Iraqis and the deteriorating humanitarian conditions they live in.

    UNHCR estimates that there are now more than 1.5 million people displaced in Iraq. Some have been displaced since the early 1990s as a result of the first Gulf War, but the figure also includes more than 365,000 people who have fled their homes and communities since a Shi'ite shrine in the northern town of Samarra was attacked in February this year. [Reuters]

Domestic Potpourri
  • Glenn Greenwald on why anger is good for Democrats this election cycle:
    But numerous candidates like Joe Sestak, Jon "Repeal-the-Patriot-Act-now" Tester, and scores of candidates running on an aggressive anti-Bush platform are succeeding because they are galvanizing -- rather than trying to suppress -- the passion and anger of Americans over how our country has been run. Democrats are poised to win their first national election in what seems like an eternity for one principal reason -- the electorate is angry at what is going on in our country and is moved by passion and anger to change it.

    Every poll, and the consensus of political analysts, is revealing that at the heart of the Democratic political advantage are extreme emotions and passions, not muted technocratic preferences or some yearning for a plodding, GOP-accommodating centrism. It is self-evident that people who are dissatisfied with Republican rule -- which is a solid majority of the country -- want a political movement that is different than the Bush-led political movement in clear and unapologetic ways and will oppose and battle it, not try to copy it.

  • Clif Kelley, a retired economist from Columbus, Ohio, is the walking, talking, fuming embodiment of what pollsters say is a defining feature of this election: the intensity of Democrats.

    Mr. Kelley and a handful of fellow Democrats in Franklin County’s 21st Ward began meeting about two years ago, calling themselves Grassroots 21. Today they have a newsletter, a blog and on one recent Sunday a sprawling audience crammed into Mr. Kelley’s suburban backyard for a rally on a semi-rainy day.

    Mr. Kelley reminded his friends that he vowed two years ago he would not die under a Bush administration. “You can see I’ve been holding on,” he said as the audience roared.

    Mr. Kelley is 89. And angry. He says he simply “can’t wait” for Election Day. [NYTimes]

Big Blue Marble
  • The Security Council's (North Korean) sanctions resolution is looking increasingly like a Rorschach test: everyone sees what they want to. For Australia, Japan, and the United States the resolution had teeth. Russia and China aren't so sure. The United States makes clear that just coming back to the table won't end the sanctions. For its part, the EU sees a "good precedent" for Iran. [Foreign Policy's Passport]

  • Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech will not play football until next year after undergoing neurosurgery on Saturday night in the wake of a collision with Reading's Stephen Hunt. Cech suffered a depressed fracture of the skull and was rushed to the Royal Berkshire hospital before being transferred to the specialist brain-injury unit at Oxford's Radcliffe Infirmary.

    Cech and his replacement Carlo Cudicini were both carried off during the game and were both immediately taken to hospital. Cudicini was discharged on Saturday night after being knocked unconscious in injury time. Chelsea face Barcelona in the Champions League on Wednesday, with third-choice keeper Hilario set for a start. [The Guardian and BBC]

And one more thing... David Horsey of the Seattle P-I on the recent revelations in David Kuo's book Tempting Faith (his 60 Minutes appearance is up over at Crooks and Liars):

[ posted with ecto ]


At 10:11 AM, Blogger kat said...

Wow, I can't believe it's been 2 years, either. For me time seems to be zooming by. Glad the opposite is true for you.

Congrats on the anniversary!

At 12:24 PM, Blogger Agen said...

Well, it is definitely zooming and zipping along. Thanks for the congrats.


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