Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Morning News Roundup (21 November)

BushCo's Wars
  • President Bush made a six-hour, carefully orchestrated visit to Indonesia on Monday marked by large demonstrations against the administration and its policies towards the Muslim world. Bush “stayed behind the fenced wall of the palace compound all day.” Indonesia’s president called on the U.S. to plan an “ultimate exit strategy” from Iraq. [ThinkProgress' ThinkFast]

  • Al-Zaman reports in Arabic that on Monday running street battles erupted in several districts of Baghdad between guerrillas and Iraqi police. In Salikh, the Bank district, Sumer, and Tujjar, residents were forced to flee their homes lest they be exposed to kidnapping or caught in the cross-fire. [Juan Cole's Informed Comment]

  • Iraq said Monday that it would restore diplomatic ties with neighboring Syria after a break of nearly a quarter-century in an effort to solidify links with a neighbor seen as a conduit for insurgents fueling the violence in Iraq.
    Syria and Iran, another neighbor, have offered to help bring stability to Iraq's fractured government, but the Bush administration has long-standing concerns about Iran's support for Shiite Muslim militias and Syria's failure to stop foreign fighters from joining the Iraqi insurgency.

    The administration is under intense pressure to put aside those concerns and engage in talks with the two countries, even though it considers them adversaries. The Iraq Study Group, co-chaired by former secretary of state James A. Baker III and former congressman Lee H. Hamilton (D-Ind.), is expected to recommend in an upcoming report that the United States start such a dialogue. [WaPo]

  • For the last three years, Walid Hassan had an impossible task. He had to make war-weary Iraqis laugh. Week after week, the comedian and broadcaster found inspiration in the turmoil and bloodletting. On his weekend television show, "Caricature," he poked fun at the poor security, the long gas lines, the electricity blackouts and the ineffective politicians.

    On Monday, Hassan, 47, a father of five children, became a victim of the war and chaos from which he drew his inspiration. A Shiite Muslim, he was found in the majority-Sunni neighborhood of Yarmouk in west Baghdad with multiple bullet wounds to his back and head, according to police. He was last seen by witnesses in a black car with a driver and two other passengers. [WaPo]

  • From Reuters' Iraq security development Factbox from today:
    BAGHDAD - A small explosion in another vehicle damaged the car of Iraqi parliament speaker Mahmoud al-Mashhadani outside the parliament building, though the official was not aboard/

    BAGHDAD - At least three people were killed and 11 wounded in a U.S. raid in Baghdad's Sadr City district, an Interior Ministry source said. Health Ministry spokesman, Qassem Abdul Hadi, said the dead included a six-month-old infant, while up to 50 had been wounded and were being treated at the local Imam Ali Hospital. Other Iraqi officials put the number of wounded at 15.

    TIKRIT - The bodies of 40 unclaimed people were buried in Tikrit, 175 km (110 miles) north of Baghdad, a hospital source said.
  • Iraq's defence minister has declared that the country is in a "state of war" on a day in which more than 20 people were killed and 75 bodies found. Nearly 1,500 Iraqis have been reported killed during November. [Al Jazeera]

Climate Crisis
  • Consumers face green taxes on everyday items such as milk, razors and disposable cameras as the government comes under increasing pressure to do more to help the environment. A report published today is demanding a levy on products such as drinks sold in billions of non-recyclable foil and plastic containers to limit the damage to the environment.

    The paper, from the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) think tank and environmental campaigners Green Alliance, urges ministers to follow European counterparts who have slashed their consumption of disposable products by imposing similar taxes. [The Scotsman via Climate Ark]

Domestic Potpourri
  • The Council on American-Islamic Relations called Tuesday for an investigation into the behavior of airline staff and airport security in the removal of six Muslim scholars from a US Airways flight a day earlier.

    A passenger raised concerns about the imams -- three of whom said their normal evening prayers in the airport terminal before boarding the Phoenix-bound plane, according to one -- through a note passed to a flight attendant.

    "We are concerned that crew members, passengers and security personnel may have succumbed to fear and prejudice based on stereotyping of Muslims and Islam," Nihad Awad, the council's executive director. [WaPo]

  • The MoJo Blog points us to this delicious press release:
    After the mid-term elections, six senators and twenty-one representatives are now out of a job, with five House incumbents still waiting to hear. To help these civic-minded men and women in their search for a new career and a new life, Ten Speed Press is donating a copy of What Color Is Your Parachute?--the world’s best-selling job-hunting, career-changing, and soul-searching manual—to every incumbent who lost a seat in the election. Books have been mailed out and will arrive on the desks of the outgoing legislators in time for Christmas.

Big Blue Marble
  • The French culture minister sat through a screening of the horror movie ''Saw III'' -- and decided it wasn't for minors. Renaud Donnedieu de Vabres announced Tuesday that he would prohibit minors under 18 from seeing the film, which opens in France this week.

    Donnedieu de Vabres said in a statement the movie exhibited ''violence and intolerable, incessant sadism.'' The scenes explicitly showing ''physical and moral torture'' justified the decision, he said. Such decisions are rare in France. The under-18 ban was brought back in 2000 for Virginie Despentes' sexually explicit ''Rape Me,'' and it has been applied to only a handful of releases. [NYTimes]

And one more thing... another special comment from Keith Olbermann:

"We'll succeed unless we quit"?

Mr. Bush, we did quit in Vietnam! A decade later than we should have; 58,000 dead later than we should have; but we finally came to our senses.

The stable, burgeoning, vivid country you just saw there is there, because we finally had the good sense to declare victory and get out!

The Domino Theory was nonsense, sir. Our departure from Vietnam emboldened no one. Communism did not spread like a contagion around the world.

And most importantly — as President Reagan's Assistant Secretary of State Lawrence Korb said on this newscast Friday — we were only in a position to win the Cold War because we quit in Vietnam.

We went home. And instead it was the Russians who learned nothing from Vietnam, and who repeated every one of our mistakes when they went into Afghanistan. And alienated their own people, and killed their own children, and bankrupted their own economy, and allowed us to win the Cold War.

Well, one last thing... from Think Progress (which includes video):
The #1 movie in the country, the animated film “Happy Feet,” is “an entertaining story about a young bird’s journey toward self-acceptance.” But to Fox News’ Neil Cuvuto it’s insidious “far left” political propaganda.

Cuvuto saw the movie with his sons and found it “offensive.” Cuvuto objected to the fact that penguins in the movie have trouble finding food because of overfishing and oil drilling. Cuvuto called the film “an animated ‘Inconvenient Truth.’ I half expected to see an animated version of Al Gore pop-up.”

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At 11:37 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Keith rules! Good summary of the farcical Vietnam trip.


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