Monday, October 23, 2006

Morning News Roundup (23 Oct)

BushCo's Wars
  • At least 15 Iraqi police recruits were killed Sunday when two buses taking them to Baghdad were ambushed by insurgents north of the capital, a local police official said. Twenty-five recruits were injured in the attack, and 20 others were kidnapped, he said.

    On Sunday and Monday, the U.S. military announced the deaths of seven soldiers and a Marine, bringing the number of U.S. troops killed in Iraq this month to 86 -- the fifth-highest total in any single month since the war began. The only higher monthly tolls were 137 in November 2004, 135 in April 2004, 106 in January 2005, and 96 in October, 2005. Attacks against U.S. and Iraqi forces in Baghdad have increased more than 40 percent since midsummer, U.S. military officials say. [WaPo]

  • In all yesterday, at least 44 Iraqis were killed or their bodies were founded dumped along roads or in the Tigris River. While the number was not high by the grim standards of the more than 3 1/2 year war, the timing and targets showed a brutal disregard for the sanctity and meaning of the Eid al-Fitr holiday, which is to Muslims what Christmas is to Christians.
    [...]
    The killings yesterday raised to at least 950 the number of Iraqis who have died in war-related violence this month, an average of more than 40 a day. The toll is on course to make October the deadliest month for Iraqis since April 2005, when the Associated Press began tracking the deaths.

    Until this month, the daily average had been about 27. The AP count includes civilians, government officials, and police and security forces, and is considered a minimum based on AP reporting. The actual number is probably higher, as many killings go unreported. The United Nations has said at least 100 Iraqis are killed daily. [BoGlobe]

  • Out of the population of 26 million, 1.6 million Iraqis have fled the country and a further 1.5 million are displaced within Iraq, according to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees. In Jordan alone there are 500,000 Iraqi refugees and a further 450,000 in Syria. In Syria alone they are arriving at the rate of 40,000 a month.

    It is one of the largest long-term population movements in the Middle East since Israel expelled Palestinians in the 1940s. Few of the Iraqis taking flight now show any desire to return to their homes. The numbers compelled to take to the roads have risen dramatically this year with 365,000 new refugees since the bombing of the Shia shrine in Samara in February. [The Independent]

Domestic Potpourri
  • Ah, the magic of the presidency. The Senate has refused to confirm former coal company executive Richard Stickler as the head of the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA). So, while they were out, Bush gave him a recess appointment to the post.

    MSHA exists to protect miners' well-being. Once a miner himself, Stickler spent most of his career above ground, much of it as an executive for companies like coal giant Massey Energy. According to the Charleston Gazette, Stickler's mines had accident rates of twice the national average. [TPM Muckraker]

  • President Bush gently admonished his father for saying he hates to think what life will be like for his son if the Democrats win control of Congress in the Nov. 7 election.

    "He shouldn't be speculating like this, because -- he should have called me ahead of time and I'd tell him they're not going to [win]," a smiling Bush said during an interview broadcast yesterday on the ABC program "This Week." [WaPo]

  • The Dow Jones Industrial Average was bouncing around 11,000 in the year 2000. Last week's close was 12,002. So, based on those numbers, after swiping trillions of taxpayer dollars -- borrowed from you and your children--and tossing it into the gaping bottomless maw of Wall Street's elite like so much papery green chum, the return on the DJIA during CEO Mastermind George Bush's reign weighs in at a whopping ~ 1.5% a year or so. In between it took a steep dip resembling a certain mountain pass in Tora Bora and has regained just barely enough to rival the interest my credit union pays on a checking account. [Daily Kos' DarkSyde in his diary, The Myth of the Bull Elephant]

Big Blue Marble
  • Senators Richard Lugar (R-IN) and Arlen Specter (R-PA) called yesterday “for direct talks with North Korea aimed at easing a nuclear standoff.” Directs talks are “inevitable,” Lugar. Specter said, “I think we ought to use every alternative, including direct bilateral talks.” [ThinkProgress' ThinkFast]

  • Israel has for the first time admitted it used controversial phosphorus shells during fighting against Hezbollah in Lebanon in July and August. Cabinet minister Jacob Edery confirmed the bombs were dropped "against military targets in open ground". The Geneva Conventions ban the use of white phosphorus as an incendiary weapon against civilian populations and in air attacks against military forces in civilian areas. [BBC]

  • A new arms race?
    Iran’s president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, has called for a baby boom to almost double the country’s population to 120 million and enable it to threaten the west. In remarks that have drawn criticism, he told MPs he wanted to scrap existing birth control policies which discouraged Iranian couples from having more than two children. Women should work less and devote more time to their “main mission” of raising children, Mr Ahmadinejad said. [The Guardian]
And one more thing... with all signs showing a change in management in the House of Representatives, it seems Drudge is getting desperate in his attempts to sway opinion against the Democrats:

drudge-061023.jpg

The article that Drudge points to in the Pelosi picture and link refers to a comment that's fairly obviously made in jest:
Representative Nancy Pelosi, Democrat of California, who is in line to become speaker if her party wins the House, has put out the word that no one should be talking with too much certainty or detail about the days after Nov. 7. But even Ms. Pelosi has slipped on occasion. In a recent interview with The Associated Press, when asked which suite of offices she would use as speaker, she said with a laugh, “I’ll have any suite I want.”
And here's more on that baseless crack about Hilary's supposed plastic surgery from Atrios.

[ posted with ecto ]


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