Friday, October 31, 2008

In the News: Oct-31

UN panel backs call for standards in arms trade - 31 Oct 2008 at 3:05pm - UNITED NATIONS (AFP) - A UN General Assembly panel on Friday overwhelmingly backed steps to draft a treaty establishing international standards for the arms trade.

Whistle-blowers get little help if punished - 31 Oct 2008 at 11:55am - WASHINGTON -- Military whistle-blowers might want to save their breath. The Pentagon inspector general, the internal watchdog for the Defense Department, hardly ever sides with service members who complain that they were punished for reporting wrongdoing, according to a review of cases by The Associated Press.

Qaeda militant said killed in U.S. strike in Pakistan - 31 Oct 2008 at 11:41am - PESHAWAR, Pakistan (Reuters) - A mid-level al Qaeda leader, identified as an Iraqi, was among up to 20 people killed on Friday in a U.S. missile strike in northwest Pakistan, a Pakistani intelligence official said.

Iraq Seeking Doctors To Rebuild Health System - 31 Oct 2008 at 11:00am - The war in Iraq has driven out much of the country's intellectual capital, including engineers, administrators and doctors. The health care system has been hit particularly hard, and the Health Ministry is offering high pay and protection to help bring doctors back to local Iraqi hospitals.

Inquiry Targeted 2,000 Foreign Muslims in 2004 - 31 Oct 2008 at 7:49am - Many of the foreigners were in this country legally, and the vast majority were not charged, a new report said.

Air Force: Nuke missile silo fire went undetected - 31 Oct 2008 at 7:24am - DENVER -- A fire caused $1 million worth of damage at an unmanned underground nuclear launch site last spring, but the Air Force didn't find out about it until five days later, an Air Force official said Thursday.

Thought for the day:
If you cannot get rid of the family skeleton, you may as well make it dance. -George Bernard Shaw (1856 - 1950)

Thursday, October 30, 2008

In the News: Oct-30

ExxonMobil profit surges to record 14.8 billion dollars - 30 Oct 2008 at 2:37pm - NEW YORK (AFP) - US oil giant ExxonMobil shook off economic troubles and hurricanes to post a record third-quarter profit of 14.83 billion dollars, up 58 percent from a year ago, the company said Thursday.

US officials' hopes for Iraq security deal fade - 30 Oct 2008 at 1:28pm - WASHINGTON -- The Bush administration's hopes for sealing a security deal with Iraq while in office are fading as Iraqis demand changes to a draft text that some U.S. officials consider unacceptable.

Are polls accurate in presidential race? - 30 Oct 2008 at 8:15am - WASHINGTON (Reuters) - With the U.S. presidential election less than a week away, Democrat Barack Obama holds a steady lead over rival Republican John McCain in opinion polls, leading many pundits to say McCain is effectively finished.

Thought for the day:
Don't ever take a fence down until you know the reason it was put up. -G. K. Chesterton (1874 - 1936)

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

In the News: Oct-29

No role for Taliban chief in Afghan talks: Pentagon - 29 Oct 2008 at 2:28pm - WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Taliban leader Mullah Omar should not be involved in Afghan reconciliation efforts despite a renewed interest in talks with members of the Islamist movement, the Pentagon said on Wednesday.

Fed cuts key rate by half point to 1 percent - 29 Oct 2008 at 2:48pm - WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Federal Reserve cut a key interest rate by a hefty half-percentage point on Wednesday to prevent a widening credit crisis from tipping the United States into a deep and prolonged recession.

Afghanistan troop buildup could more than double - 29 Oct 2008 at 12:24pm - WASHINGTON -- Military planners now think they may need to send more than double the number of extra troops initially believed needed to help fight the war in Afghanistan.

Thought for the day:
If knowledge can create problems, it is not through ignorance that we can solve them. -Isaac Asimov (1920 - 1992)

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

In the News: Oct-28

15% of female veterans tell of sexual trauma - 28 Oct 2008 at 12:22pm - About one out of seven female veterans of Afghanistan or Iraq who visit a Veterans Affairs center for medical care report being a victim of sexual assault or harassment during military duty, a study reports today. More than half of these women have post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). A similar proportion of male veterans with sexual traumas have PTSD, but fewer than one out of 100 men who had recent deployments say they were harassed or sexually assaulted in the military, the report says.

Iraq denounces U.S. raid on Syria - 28 Oct 2008 at 10:17am - BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Iraq's government denounced on Tuesday a U.S. air strike on a Syrian border village in an unexpected rebuke of Washington.

Turkish warplanes bomb Kurdish bases in N. Iraq - 28 Oct 2008 at 9:18am - Turkey's military says its warplanes and artillery have struck Kurdish rebel targets inside northern Iraq.

Iraqi cabinet agrees changes to U.S. security deal - 28 Oct 2008 at 9:16am - BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Iraq's cabinet agreed on Tuesday on amendments it will propose to a deal allowing U.S. troops to stay in the country, the government's spokesman said, adding the changes would cover the pact's substance as well as wording.

Thought for the day:
Half of the modern drugs could well be thrown out of the window, except that the birds might eat them. -Dr. Martin Henry Fischer

Monday, October 27, 2008

In the News: Oct-27

Judge defines enemy combatant status for detainees - 27 Oct 2008 at 2:44pm - WASHINGTON -- Al-Qaida or Taliban supporters who directly assisted in hostile acts against the United States or its allies can be held without charges as enemy combatants, a federal judge ruled Monday.

Bank rescue kicks into gear, Treasury eyes insurers - 27 Oct 2008 at 1:32pm - WASHINGTON (AFP) - The US bank rescue program kicked into gear Monday with news that nine major banks will receive 125 billion dollars in capital injections this week from the government.

US launches raid in Syria after move into Pakistan - 27 Oct 2008 at 11:50am - WASHINGTON -- The startling U.S. commando attack inside Syrian territory over the weekend appears to amplify an emerging message to countries suspected of giving safe passage to terrorists: Take action, or else the U.S. will.

Al Qaeda media chief stands mute at Guantanamo - 27 Oct 2008 at 11:47am - GUANTANAMO BAY U.S. NAVAL BASE, Cuba (Reuters) - The U.S. war crimes trial of Osama bin Laden's accused media director began Monday with silence from the defense side of the Guantanamo Bay courtroom after the judge ruled the Yemeni defendant had the right to stand mute and offer no defense.

Thought for the day:
A nation is a society united by delusions about its ancestry and by common hatred of its neighbors. -William Ralph Inge (1860 - 1954)

Sunday, October 26, 2008

October Surprise?

U.S. helicopters attack border point with Iraq: Syria - 26 Oct 2008 at 2:46pm - DAMASCUS (Reuters) - Syria said on Sunday that American helicopters attacked a Syrian border point with Iraq, causing casualties.

Friday, October 24, 2008

In the News: Oct-24

Iraq approves provincial elections law - 24 Oct 2008 at 2:00pm - BAGHDAD (AP) — Iraq's parliament overwhelmingly approved a provincial elections law Wednesday, overcoming months of deadlock and giving a boost to U.S.-backed national reconciliation efforts. U.S. officials have complained privately that Iraqi politicians have failed to take advantage of the sharp drop in violence — down 80% since last year, according to the U.S. military — to forge lasting power-sharing agreements.

Russia says U.S. sanctions will hit ties - 24 Oct 2008 at 1:37pm - MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia accused Washington on Friday of breaking international law and undermining cooperation on Iran's nuclear program after it imposed sanctions on companies accused of passing sensitive technology to Tehran.

Thought for the day:
It is our choices... that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities. -J. K. Rowling, Harry Potter and The Chamber of Secrets

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Headline Of the Day

"Wall Street rebounds on energy and drug strength"

In the News: Oct-23

Missiles Kill 8 in Pakistan Airstrike - 23 Oct 2008 at 2:07pm - The missiles are thought to have been fired by American drones in an attack apparently aimed at a prominent Taliban commander, residents and a militant fighter said.

IRAQ: Health threat posed by aging water supply networks - October 23, 2008 8:56:54 AM - BAGHDAD, 23 October 2008 (IRIN) - At least 17 percent of piped water nationwide, and one-third of the water in Baghdad, is not potable, according to a survey by the Iraqi Health Ministry.

Iraq takes over 12th province from US - 23 Oct 2008 at 9:21am - HILLA, Iraq (AFP) - Iraq took control of the central Shiite province of Babil from US forces on Thursday in what officials declared was a further sign of security gains across the war-torn nation.

Air Force creates new pilot programs for drones - 23 Oct 2008 at 7:47am - WASHINGTON -- Scrambling to meet commanders' insatiable demands for unmanned aircraft, the Air Force is launching two new training programs, including an experimental one that would churn out up to 1,100 desperately needed pilots to fly the drones over Iraq and Afghanistan.

Thought for the day:
The meek shall inherit the Earth, but not its mineral rights. -J. Paul Getty (1892 - 1976)

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

In the News: Oct-22

Coalition Airstrike Kills 9 Afghan Soldiers - 22 Oct 2008 at 2:33pm - The U.S.-led coalition said the attack may have been "a case of mistaken identity on both sides."

Doubts on Iraq Security Pact Revives Focus on U.N. - 22 Oct 2008 at 2:29pm - Russia?s foreign minister, Sergey Lavrov, told reporters that his country would support allowing U.S. troops to stay in Iraq under a United Nations mandate.

Iraq seeks changes to wording, not backbone of pact - 22 Oct 2008 at 2:24pm - BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Baghdad will demand changes to the wording of a pact allowing U.S. troops to stay in Iraq but will not seek to renegotiate the "backbone" of the agreement, Foreign Minister Hoshiyar Zebari said on Wednesday.

Iraq says will not be bullied into signing US pact - 22 Oct 2008 at 12:50pm - BAGHDAD (AFP) - Iraq warned on Wednesday it would not be bullied into signing a security pact with the United States despite US leaders warning of potentially dire consequences if it failed to approve the deal.

Thought for the day:
It has always been the prerogative of children and half-wits to point out that the emperor has no clothes. But the half-wit remains a half-wit, and the emperor remains an emperor. -Neil Gaiman, Sandman

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Exploiting Too Many Americans

Sarah Palin, in an interview aired on CNN today, explains how best to make use of the $700-billion bailout rescue package recently approved by Congress:
"Let's make sure that the priority is, we're gonna help the homeowners who had been kinda sucked into the wrong mortgage, and that was via predatory lenders taking advantage unfortunately and exploiting too many Americans."

I do agree that such exploitation as has taken place is reprehensible, but... "too many"? Is there some appropriate number of exploited Americans that has, unfortunately, been exceeded? After exactly how many exploitations would Ms. Palin feel that predatory lenders crossed the line and started taking advantage?

In the News: Oct-21

From London, a Rebuke to U.S. Approach on Terrorism - 21 Oct 2008 at 2:51pm - British officials have criticized the United States for what they described as its overly militaristic approach to fighting terrorism.

Federal officials contributed indirectly to torture of Canadians: report - 21 Oct 2008 at 1:25pm - The actions of Canadian officials contributed indirectly to the torture of three Arab-Canadian men in Syria, a federal inquiry has concluded.

Congress cancels novel satellite program - 21 Oct 2008 at 12:53pm - WASHINGTON -- With a federal budget crunch looming, Congress this month canceled Pentagon plans to buy and launch two commercial imagery satellites to complement its network of classified spy craft, military and space industry officials said.

U.S. drops charges against 5 Gitmo detainees - 21 Oct 2008 at 11:09am - The U.S. military says it is dropping war-crimes charges against five Guantanamo Bay detainees.

U.S. Is Said to Be Urging New Mergers in Banking - 21 Oct 2008 at 8:29am - The Treasury Department reportedly hopes to steer some of the $250 billion rescue to banks willing to buy rivals.

SYRIA: Some Iraqis return; thousands more register for food aid - October 21, 2008 8:41:23 AM - DAMASCUS, 21 October 2008 (IRIN) - Several hundred Iraqis returned home from Syria this week and last, but thousands more continue to register with the UN in Damascus to receive vital food aid, underscoring the hardship faced by the huge refugee community.

Thought for the day:
It is the dull man who is always sure, and the sure man who is always dull. -H. L. Mencken (1880 - 1956)

Monday, October 20, 2008

In the News: Oct-20

Zimbabwe power talks grind to halt after Tsvangirai no-show - 20 Oct 2008 at 2:41pm - MBABANE (AFP) - Regional efforts to resolve Zimbabwe's political crisis ground to a halt Monday, as opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai refused to attend a southern African summit until he is granted a passport.

Dion to resign after Liberals choose new leader - 20 Oct 2008 at 2:59pm - Stéphane Dion announced Monday he will step down as head of the Liberals after a leadership convention, blaming the party's losses in the federal election mainly on Conservative "propaganda" against his Green Shift carbon tax.

New Doubts Cloud Iraqi Security Pact With U.S. - 20 Oct 2008 at 11:40am - Several of the leading Iraqi political parties appeared to back away from quick approval of the security agreement between Iraq and the United States.

U.S. gives Iraq $13 million to fix looted museum - 20 Oct 2008 at 10:34am - BAGHDAD (Reuters) - The U.S. government has announced a $13 million grant mainly to help refurbish Iraq's National Museum which was looted in the aftermath of the U.S.-led invasion in 2003, U.S. officials said Monday.

ACLU, EFF challenge constitutionality of FISA amendments - October 19, 2008 6:15:00 PM - Congress may have voted to grant retroactive immunity to telecoms that helped the NSA eavesdrop, but civil liberties groups are challenging the immunity law in federal court as an affront to the Constitution.

Thought for the day:
When you are in any contest you should work as if there were - to the very last minute - a chance to lose it. -Dwight D. Eisenhower (1890 - 1969)

Friday, October 17, 2008

In the News: Oct-17

Supreme Court Ruling a Setback for Ohio G.O.P. - 17 Oct 2008 at 2:36pm - The ruling overturned a lower court?s order requiring state officials in Ohio to supply information that would have made it easier to challenge prospective voters.

3 Nations Win Security Council Seats - 17 Oct 2008 at 12:24pm - Turkey, Austria and Japan won nonpermanent seats on the United Nations Security Council on Friday, defeating Iceland and Iran in elections in the General Assembly.

Turkey: Military bombed bases in Iraq - 17 Oct 2008 at 12:24pm - Turkey's military says its warplanes have bombed the main rebel Kurdish bases inside northern Iraq.

Bush announces visa waiver for 7 countries - 17 Oct 2008 at 11:25am - WASHINGTON -- President Bush, trying to eliminate a major source of contention with allied nations, has announced the United States is rescinding visa requirements for citizens of six European countries and South Korea.

U.S. new home construction tumbles in September - 17 Oct 2008 at 11:18am - The U.S. Commerce Department reported that new construction fell by 6.3 per cent for the month, much worse than the drop of 1.6 per cent that had been projected by economists.

Thought for the day:
The future, according to some scientists, will be exactly like the past, only far more expensive. -John Sladek

Thursday, October 16, 2008

In the News: Oct-16

Pentagon: Iraq pact adequately protects troops - 16 Oct 2008 at 1:49pm - WASHINGTON -- A Pentagon spokesman says Defense Secretary Robert Gates is calling congressional leaders in support of a draft security agreement with Iraq that provides protections for U.S. forces there.

Ruling May Impede Thousands of Ohio Voters - 16 Oct 2008 at 12:53pm - A decision on Tuesday ordered the disclosure of lists of voters whose names did not match those in government databases, which may prevent them from casting regular ballots.

Social Security benefits going up by 5.8 percent - 16 Oct 2008 at 11:15am - WASHINGTON -- Social Security benefits for 50 million people will be go up 5.8 percent next year, the largest increase in more than a quarter century.

Suspected U.S. drone attack in Pakistan, one killed - 16 Oct 2008 at 9:59am - DERA ISMAIL KHAN, Pakistan (Reuters) - A suspected U.S. drone fired a missile on Thursday into Pakistani territory on the Afghan border, killing at least one militant, intelligence agency officials said.

Thought for the day:
It is inaccurate to say that I hate everything. I am strongly in favor of common sense, common honesty, and common decency. This makes me forever ineligible for public office. -H. L. Mencken (1880 - 1956)

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Project This

Thought I was finally going to actually watch a debate, but the most unpredictable thing happened: right after the first mention of a $3-million overhead projector, my TV turned off. So (as usual) someone will have to watch for me.

In the News: Oct-15

Deficit Hits $455 Billion, Highest Percent Since '04 - 15 Oct 2008 at 11:44am - The federal budget deficit rose to $455 billion in the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30 as financial market strains slowed economic growth while spending rose the most since 1990.

Toxic Pellets Found in Russian Rights Lawyer?s Car - 15 Oct 2008 at 10:16am - The lawyer was taken ill days before pre-trial hearings into the murder of one of her clients, Anna Politkovskaya.

Iraq says pact to allow U.S. troops until 2011 - 15 Oct 2008 at 10:23am - BAGHDAD (Reuters) - A draft agreement with the United States requires U.S. troops to leave Iraq by the end of 2011 unless asked to stay, and gives Iraq the right to try them for felonies committed while off duty, Iraq said on Wednesday.

Harper secures strengthened minority government - 15 Oct 2008 at 6:33am - Canadians were waking up Wednesday to news the country had elected its third consecutive minority government, with Prime Minister Stephen Harper's Conservatives returning to Ottawa with a strengthened mandate.

Thought for the day:
Every form of addiction is bad, no matter whether the narcotic be alcohol, morphine or idealism. -Carl Jung (1875 - 1961)

White House Endorsed Waterboarding in Memos

CIA Tactics Endorsed in Memos - 15 Oct 2008 at 12:49pm - Waterboarding, other interrogation techniques got secret White House nod in 2003 and 2004.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

In the News: Oct-14

Bush to help open national parks to mountain bikes - 14 Oct 2008 at 2:53pm - WASHINGTON -- The Bush administration plans to make it easier for mountain bikers to gain access to national parks and other public lands before the president - an avid cyclist himself - leaves office.
At last, the Bush legacy is within reach?

Afghan defence chief says U.S. success in Iraq pushing militants into his nation - 14 Oct 2008 at 11:16am - The recent successes of the U.S.-led coalition in Iraq have pushed sophisticated, highly trained insurgents into Afghanistan, the Afghan defence minister said Tuesday.

Pentagon confident of deal to keep troops in Iraq - 14 Oct 2008 at 12:57pm - WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Pentagon on Tuesday said it was confident the U.S. and Iraqi governments would agree to keep U.S. troops in Iraq after December 31, but did not say a deal would necessarily fall under a formal long-term framework.

Syria issues decree to establish diplomatic relations with Lebanon - 14 Oct 2008 at 7:42am - Syria will open an embassy in Beirut for the first time in more than 60 years, and an official with the Syrian Foreign Ministry said that will likely happen before the end of the year.

Former Fed chief says U.S. now in recession - 14 Oct 2008 at 6:57am - SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker said on Tuesday the U.S. housing sector faced more losses and the economy was in recession even as authorities moved to stabilize the financial system.

Thought for the day:
Prediction is very difficult, especially about the future. -Niels Bohr (1885 - 1962)

Monday, October 13, 2008

In the News: Oct-13

Sudanese Arrest Militia Leader - 13 Oct 2008 at 1:29pm - The Sudanese government has arrested janjaweed militia leader Ali Muhammad Ali Abd-al-Rahman, charged by an international court with orchestrating mass murder in Darfur.

Under "No Child" Law, Even Solid Schools Falter - 13 Oct 2008 at 12:21pm - Required to make a giant leap in improving test scores, many once-successful schools in California have stumbled.

Bush critic Krugman wins Nobel for economics - 13 Oct 2008 at 8:49am - US economist Paul Krugman, a critic of the Bush administration for policies that he argues led to the current financial crisis, won the 2008 Nobel prize for economics.

IRAQ: Attacks drive thousands of Christians out of Mosul - October 13, 2008 2:57:00 PM - BAGHDAD, 12 October 2008 (IRIN) - Nearly 750 Christian families, about 3,750 individuals, have fled their homes in Mosul, a city about 400km north of Baghdad, as Sunni Muslim extremists have increased attacks against this religious minority since 4 October, a local official said on 11 October.

Thought for the day:
Men have become the tools of their tools. -Henry David Thoreau (1817 - 1862)

Friday, October 10, 2008

Decent, Family Man

McCain booed after trying to calm anti-Obama crowd - 10 Oct 2008 at 9:13pm - LAKEVILLE, Minn. -- The anger is getting raw at Republican rallies and John McCain is acting to tamp it down. McCain was booed by his own supporters Friday when, in an abrupt switch from raising questions about Barack Obama's character, he described the Democrat as a "decent person and a person that you do not have to be scared of as president of the United States."
"I don't trust Obama," a woman said. "I have read about him. He's an Arab." McCain shook his head in disagreement, and said: "No, ma'am. He's a decent, family man
So, the idea that McCain is defending Obama's character is good, but: "Arabs" and "decent, family men" are mutually exclusive?

Alaska ethics probe finds Palin abused her power - 10 Oct 2008 at 8:37pm - ANCHORAGE, Alaska (Reuters) - An Alaska ethics inquiry found that Gov. Sarah Palin, the U.S. Republican vice presidential candidate, abused the power of her office by dismissing the state's public safety commissioner, a report released on Friday said.

In the News: Oct-10

Anger against US mounts as Iraq Shiites bury slain MP - 10 Oct 2008 at 1:19pm - BAGHDAD (AFP) - Mourners shouted anti-US slogans and torched American and Israeli flags in Baghdad's Shiite bastion after a radical MP was buried Friday, as fresh attacks killed at least 18 people across Iraq.

Conn. high court rules same-sex couples can marry - 10 Oct 2008 at 12:12pm - HARTFORD, Conn. -- Connecticut's Supreme Court ruled Friday that same-sex couples have the right to marry, making the state the third behind Massachusetts and California to legalize such unions.

Ex-president Carter slams Bush on market crisis - 10 Oct 2008 at 7:53am - BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Former President Jimmy Carter said on Friday the "atrocious economic policies" of the Bush administration had caused the worst global financial crisis since the Great Depression of the 1930s.

As Fears Ease, Baghdad Sees Walls Tumble - 10 Oct 2008 at 6:00am - The dismantling of blast walls is the most visible sign of change in Baghdad as the surge strategy draws to a close.

Thought for the day:
Well, if crime fighters fight crime and fire fighters fight fire, what do freedom fighters fight? They never mention that part to us, do they? -George Carlin (1937 - 2008)

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Report: NSA listened in on personal military calls

Report: NSA listened in on personal military calls - 9 Oct 2008 at 7:40pm - WASHINGTON -- The Senate Select Intelligence Committee is looking into allegations from two U.S. military linguists that the government routinely listened in on phone calls of American military and humanitarian aid workers serving overseas.

In the News: Oct-09

U.S. Army says it has disrupted Iraq weapons network - 9 Oct 2008 at 2:56pm - WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S.-led forces in southeastern Iraq have disrupted an arms-smuggling network blamed for distributing deadly Iranian-made roadside bombs and rockets in Iraq, a U.S. military officer said on Thursday.

U.S. missile attack kills at least 4 in Pakistan - 9 Oct 2008 at 1:21pm - MIRANSHAH, Pakistan (Reuters) - A suspected missile attack by a pilotless drone killed at least four people on Thursday in a Pakistani tribal region regarded as a safe haven for al Qaeda and Taliban militants, an intelligence official said.

Bush signs order to ease switch to next president - 9 Oct 2008 at 10:47am - WASHINGTON -- President Bush has signed an executive order to facilitate the transition to a new administration that will take office on Inauguration Day, Jan. 20.
An executive order -- is this usual? Is this necessary?

U.S. fears Iran-backed killings ahead of Iraq polls - 9 Oct 2008 at 10:50am - BAGHDAD (Reuters) - U.S. forces in Iraq fear a wave of assassinations ahead of provincial elections, some carried out by militant cells trained in Iran, the U.S. general in command of the southern half of the country said on Thursday.

Canada's mission in Afghanistan could cost up to $18.1B - 9 Oct 2008 at 11:12am - Canada's mission in Afghanistan could reach a total cost of $18.1 billion or $1,500 per Canadian household by 2011, a government report estimates.

China says it won't torture Gitmo detainees - 9 Oct 2008 at 11:00am - China on Thursday rejected concerns that it would torture Chinese Muslims held by the U.S. military at Guantanamo Bay if they are returned to China, saying they will be dealt with according to the law. China has called on the U.S. to repatriate 17 Chinese Muslim detainees who were to have been released this week, saying they are terrorists and should be brought to justice, Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang told a news conference.

States' Actions to Block Voters Appear Illegal - 9 Oct 2008 at 7:56am - Tens of thousands of voters in at least six swing states have been removed from rolls or blocked from registering.

Thought for the day:
In all affairs it's a healthy thing now and then to hang a question mark on the things you have long taken for granted. -Bertrand Russell (1872 - 1970)

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

In the News: Oct-08

Central Banks Coordinate Cut in Rates - 8 Oct 2008 at 1:18pm - The world?s major central banks ? including the Federal Reserve, the Bank of England and the European Central Bank ? moved together to stanch the financial crisis.

In bleak forecast, IMF sees major downturn - 8 Oct 2008 at 11:16am - WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The International Monetary Fund, in its bleakest forecast in years, said on Wednesday the world economy was set for a major downturn with the United States and Europe either in or on the brink of recession.

Pentagon source: strike killed 30 Afghan civilians - 8 Oct 2008 at 8:16am - WASHINGTON -- U.S. airstrikes in Afghanistan on Aug. 22 killed some 30 civilians, far more than the military has previously acknowledged, Defense officials said Wednesday.

Thought for the day:
Anyone who isn't confused really doesn't understand the situation. -Edward R. Murrow (1908 - 1965)

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

In the News: Oct-07

Military improves education on electrocution - 7 Oct 2008 at 1:24pm - WASHINGTON -- The U.S. military is creating an electrical code for U.S. facilities in Iraq as part of an effort to prevent future electrocutions in Iraq. The deaths of at least 18 U.S. service members and contractors in Iraq are under investigation as possible electrocutions.

Fed Announces Plan to Buy Short-Term Debt - 7 Oct 2008 at 1:22pm - The Federal Reserve?s radical new plan is an effort to stimulate the credit markets, which have all but dried up.

IRS eases tax rules on US firms with foreign units - 7 Oct 2008 at 12:04pm - WASHINGTON -- The Internal Revenue Service, seeking to make cash more available during the current credit crunch, has issued a rule making it easier for U.S. corporations to bring home money made by their foreign subsidiaries.

Judge: Let Chinese Muslims from Guantanamo into US - 7 Oct 2008 at 11:39am - WASHINGTON -- A federal judge has ordered the release of a small group of Chinese Muslims from Guantanamo Bay into the United States.

Iceland nationalises another bank as crisis bites deeper - 7 Oct 2008 at 11:25am - REYKJAVIK (AFP) - Iceland on Tuesday nationalised the second of its three largest banks, locked its currency into a fixed exchange system and sought a large loan from Russia to fend off potential national bankruptcy.

Kenya detains U.S. author of critical Obama book - 7 Oct 2008 at 7:40am - NAIROBI (Reuters) - Kenyan immigration authorities have arrested and plan to deport the U.S. author of a critical book about presidential candidate Barack Obama before a launch in Nairobi, witnesses and local media said Tuesday.

Hurdle Remain Over Iraq Security Agreement - 7 Oct 2008 at 7:31am - U.S. Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte is in Iraq Tuesday on an unannounced visit. U.S. and Iraqi officials have been negotiating a deal governing the operation of U.S. troops in Iraq, which expires this year. Iraq's foreign minister says it will take "bold political decisions" to overcome the final hurdles.

FCC Launches Inquiry Over Iraq War Coverage - October 07, 2008 8:09:11 AM - WASHINGTON -- Federal regulators have launched an inquiry into whether broadcast networks and military analysts violated federal sponsorship identification rules as a result of an effort by the Pentagon to increase favorable news coverage of the Iraq war.

Thought for the day:
The attempt to silence a man is the greatest honor you can bestow on him. It means that you recognize his superiority to yourself. -Joseph Sobran

Monday, October 06, 2008

In the News: Oct-06

Bush aides win delay for congressional testimony - 6 Oct 2008 at 2:27pm - WASHINGTON -- A federal appeals court has ruled that two of President Bush's top aides do not have to cooperate with a congressional investigation about the firings of nine federal prosecutors in 2006.

New surveillance program will turn military satellites on US - October 05, 2008 8:15:00 PM - The National Applications Office is meant to coordinate the use of military spy satellites to watch the US, but the GAO warns that more privacy checks are needed. Congress has given the NAO a qualified go-ahead, barring cooperation with law enforcement... for now.

Panic grips world stock markets - 6 Oct 2008 at 8:28am - LONDON (AFP) - World stock markets plummeted on Monday, striking four-year lows, as panic-stricken investors doubted whether a Wall Street bailout package would stem the global financial crisis.

U.S. to allies: Fight in Afghanistan or write check - 6 Oct 2008 at 8:02am - WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States has asked Japan and NATO allies who have refused to send troops to Afghanistan to pay the estimated $17 billion needed to build up the Afghan army, according to U.S. defense officials.

IRAQ: Over 400 confirmed cholera cases so far - October 06, 2008 3:27:00 PM - BAGHDAD, 6 October 2008 (IRIN) - The number of confirmed cholera cases has risen to 418 in central and southern Iraq, with six dead since an outbreak began on 20 August, a government spokesman said on 5 October.

Thought for the day:
A single death is a tragedy; a million deaths is a statistic. -Joseph Stalin (1879 - 1953)

Friday, October 03, 2008

Friday Evening Addendum

Appeals Court Overturns 2 Terrorism Convictions - October 2, 2008 - Finding that a Yemeni cleric and his assistant had been deprived of a fair trial because of errors by the presiding judge, a federal appeals panel in New York on Thursday overturned their convictions in a prominent terrorism case once hailed by the Bush administration as a significant blow to Al Qaeda.

Afghan "Dictator" Proposed in Leaked Cable - 3 Oct 2008 at 8:03pm - A diplomatic cable also quotes the British ambassador as saying that the campaign against the Taliban will fail.

FBI given new rules for investigations - 3 Oct 2008 at 7:38pm - WASHINGTON -- The Bush administration issued new rules Friday designed to allow the FBI to pursue potential national security threats with the same vigor and techniques used against common criminals. Civil libertarians said the guidelines will come at a cost to constitutional protections.

GOP lawmakers file appeal to halt Troopergate case - 3 Oct 2008 at 8:29pm - ANCHORAGE, Alaska -- Six Alaska lawmakers filed an emergency appeal Friday asking the state's Supreme Court to halt an investigation into abuse of power allegations by Gov. Sarah Palin before the findings are released next week.

In the News: Oct-03

Company charged with fraud in Afghan war contracts - 3 Oct 2008 at 2:22pm - WASHINGTON -- A Houston security company has been indicted on charges of defrauding the U.S. government for work done during the Afghanistan war and rebuilding efforts.

House passes $700 billion financial bailout - 3 Oct 2008 at 1:41pm - NEW YORK/WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The House of Representatives approved a $700 billion bailout package for U.S. banks, under pressure from all sides as the effort to head off a spreading financial crisis hung in the balance.

California may seek Treasury financing - 3 Oct 2008 at 12:58pm - SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has told Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson that the most populous U.S. state may need to turn to the federal government for short-term financing because a $7 billion sale of notes may be foiled by weak credit markets.

Democrats question independence of prosecutor - 3 Oct 2008 at 11:38am - WASHINGTON -- Democrats are questioning the independence of a special prosecutor named to investigate whether laws were broken in the partisan political firings of U.S. attorneys.

Iraq clears way for provincial elections - 3 Oct 2008 at 8:27am - A spokesman says Iraq's presidential council has agreed on a law that paves the way for U.S.-backed provincial elections to be ...

Skype's China spying sparks anger, despair - 3 Oct 2008 at 7:53am - HONG KONG/BEIJING (Reuters) - Savvy Internet users in China began avoiding the version of Skype offered by its Chinese partner two years ago, but news it filtered and recorded text messages has sparked new worries about the global firm's commitment to privacy.

France slips into recession: official forecast - 3 Oct 2008 at 7:15am - PARIS (AFP) - French leaders scrambled to reassure consumers, voters and investors Friday, after the official statistics agency warned that the eurozone's second largest economy had slipped into recession.

Thought for the day:
Ninety percent of the politicians give the other ten percent a bad reputation. -Henry Kissinger (1923 - )

Thursday, October 02, 2008

In the News: Oct-02

White House Looks For New Strategy In Afghanistan - 2 Oct 2008 at 5:23pm - The top U.S. commander in Afghanistan has called for an immediate influx of 15,000 troops to help stabilize the region, but analysts say that isn't all that is needed. The White House also has been seeking advice from Afghanistan experts outside the administration.

Judge orders more searches for Abramoff visits - 2 Oct 2008 at 1:35pm - WASHINGTON -- A federal judge has rejected the Bush administration's attempt to shield records that may shed light on the White House visits of now imprisoned lobbyist Jack Abramoff.

U.S. soldier sentenced over killings of Iraqis - 2 Oct 2008 at 12:24pm - BERLIN (Reuters) - A U.S. soldier who pleaded guilty to involvement in the fatal shooting of detainees in Iraq early last year has been sentenced to eight months in jail and will be discharged from the armed forces, the army said Thursday.

Thought for the day:
In religion and politics, people's beliefs and convictions are in almost every case gotten at second hand, and without examination. -Mark Twain (1835 - 1910)

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

In the News: Oct-01

Congress resorts to tax cuts to help pass bailout - 1 Oct 2008 at 1:55pm - WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Leaders in the U.S. Congress have deployed their best weapon for winning passage of a $700 billion financial industry bailout just weeks before the elections, attaching tax cuts to an otherwise bitter pill.

US general in Afghanistan wants more troops ASAP - 1 Oct 2008 at 9:39am - WASHINGTON -- The top American military commander in Afghanistan says more troops and other help in fighting a growing insurgency are needed "as quickly as possible."

Iraq civilian, U.S. troop deaths fall in September - 1 Oct 2008 at 8:46am - BAGHDAD (Reuters) - The number of civilians killed in Iraq last month more than halved to 359 compared to a year ago, Iraqi government figures showed, and the number of U.S. troops killed in action also fell dramatically.

Iraq taking control of anti-Qaeda fighters from US forces - 1 Oct 2008 at 5:53am - BAGHDAD (AFP) - Iraq began taking control of 100,000 Sunni Arab anti-Qaeda fighters from US forces on Wednesday, amid concerns that many in the militia credited with curbing the bloodshed in the country will be neglected.

Thought for the day:
The consensus seemed to be that if really large numbers of men were sent to storm the mountain, then enough might survive the rocks to take the citadel. This is essentially the basis of all military thinking. -Terry Pratchett, Eric