Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Morning News Roundup (18 October)

BushCo's Wars
  • Ten U.S. soldiers were killed in Iraq on Tuesday, one of the bloodiest days of the war for American forces outside of major combat operations.” At least 68 U.S. troops have been killed in October, on pace to ”make it the deadliest month for U.S. forces since January 2005.” [ThinkProgress' ThinkFast]

  • Tony Blair says he will not change his strategy on Iraq despite increasing doubts from senior figures in both the UK and the US about how it is working. Lib Dem leader Sir Menzies Campbell said it was clear that the government's "strategy has failed... the choice is stark: change the strategy or get out". [BBC]

  • US forces patrolled the streets of the predominantly Shi'ite city of Balad yesterday after five days of sectarian slaughter killed 95 people, violence that surged out of control despite the efforts of Iraq's best-trained soldiers.

    Minority Sunnis, who absorbed most of the brutality in the city of 80,000 people, have been fleeing across the Tigris River in small boats, Balad police commander Brigadier Nebil al-Beldawi said. On the outskirts of the city, two fuel trucks were attacked and burned. [BoGlobe]

  • Armed men stopped 13 vehicles near a police checkpoint south of Balad on Monday night and took them and their occupants away to an area known to be a Sunni insurgent dumping ground for murder victims, provincial police said. [WaPo]

Domestic Potpourri
  • The WaPo's Dan Froomkin on yesterday's signing of the detainee/torture bill by Dear Leader:
    The new law vaguely bans torture -- but makes the administration the arbiter of what is torture and what isn't. It allows the president to imprison indefinitely anyone he decides falls under a wide-ranging new definition of unlawful combatant. It suspends the Great Writ of habeas corpus for detainees. It allows coerced testimony at trial. It immunizes retroactively interrogators who may have engaged in torture.

    Here's what Bush had to say at his signing ceremony in the East Room: "The bill I sign today helps secure this country, and it sends a clear message: This nation is patient and decent and fair, and we will never back down from the threats to our freedom."

    But that may not be the "clear message" the new law sends most people.

    Here's the clear message the law sends to the world: America makes its own rules. The law would apparently subject terror suspects to some of the same sorts of brutal interrogation tactics that have historically been prosecuted as war crimes when committed against Americans.

    Here's the clear message to the voters: This Congress is willing to rubberstamp pretty much any White House initiative it sees as being in its short-term political interests.
  • In an election season where the Republicans can't seem to buy a break, the party's highest-profile campaigners have gone back to a bedrock GOP issue: taxes. After a month of speeches focused on terrorism, President Bush has also moved taxes to the fore, speaking ominously of how if "they," the Democrats, "were to get in charge of the House of Representatives, they would raise your taxes and figure out new ways to spend your money," as he did at a campaign event in Chicago last week.

    The problem for Republicans is that taxes don't rank high on surveys of voter concerns, in an election dominated by talk of Iraq, scandals, and uneasiness about the economy in general. [Christian Science Monitor]

  • "In recent years, the Republican Party aimed to broaden its appeal with a "big-tent" strategy of reaching out to voters who might typically lean Democratic. But now a debate is growing within the GOP about whether the tent has become too big — by including gays whose political views may conflict with the goals of the party's powerful evangelical conservatives.

    "Some Christians, who are pivotal to the GOP's get-out-the-vote effort, are charging that gay Republican staffers in Congress may have thwarted their legislative agenda. There even are calls for what some have dubbed a "pink purge" of high-ranking gay Republicans on Capitol Hill and in the administration.... [LATimes via TPM Muckraker's Daily Muck]

Big Blue Marble
  • Via The American Prospect's Tapped blog:
    Over the last few years, Mexico has been rolling out a universal health care system focused on access to preventative care and free enrollment for the bottom income quintile. The results?
    The number of cases of malaria have dropped by 60%, six times more people are receiving antiretroviral therapy, TB mortality has fallen by 30%, and Mexico is only one of seven countries on track to reduce child mortality by two-thirds by 2015; the fourth Millennium Development Goal (MDG4). The reforms have also led to a 17% reduction in the proportion of male teenagers who smoke, a 17% increase in the use of mammography, and a 32% increase in the number of pap smear tests over the past 5 years.

  • A University of Wisconsin study of TV coverage found that Midwest broadcasters “allocated an average of less than 30 seconds per 30-minute news broadcast to election coverage” compared to “two minutes for crime stories, seven minutes for sports and weather, and 10 minutes for advertising.” (ed. note: that doesn't surprise me, and is why I never watch local news except for entertainment value for a few minutes after House) [ThinkProgress' ThinkFast]

[ posted with ecto ]


At 10:07 AM, Blogger kat said...

(ed. note: that doesn't surprise me, and is why I never watch local news except for entertainment value for a few minutes after House)

oooh, ooh, ooh...are you hooked?


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