Saturday, November 11, 2006
why did 2,844 of our men and women have to die in iraq? WHY?
Pentagon to reevaluate Iraq strategy, goals
Gen. Pace suggests less ambitious goals than Bush administration
By Ann Scott Tyson
The Washington Post
Updated: 12:25 a.m. ET Nov 11, 2006
WASHINGTON - The Pentagon is conducting a major review of the military's Iraq strategy to determine "what's going wrong and should be changed" to attain U.S. objectives in the war-torn country, the nation's top general said yesterday.
The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Marine Gen. Peter Pace, initiated the review this fall after starkly deteriorating security in Baghdad led commanders there to rule out any significant cut in the level of U.S. troops in Iraq -- now at about 145,000 -- according to senior defense officials and sources.
Pace said he is working with Army Gen. George W. Casey Jr., the top U.S. commander in Iraq, and Army Gen. John P. Abizaid, who as head of Central Command oversees the U.S. military in the Middle East, on recommendations for how to improve Iraq strategy.
Iraq at a crossroadsThe military's growing view is that Iraq is at a crossroads, spurred largely by intensified sectarian fighting and mounting U.S. casualties on the ground. Pace's review coincides with political pressure in Washington to find alternatives to the current Iraq policy, heightened by this week's election and the Democratic takeover of Congress.........
........Still, sources said that Pace's review marks a more fundamental and open-ended look for possible solutions in Iraq than the military has undertaken to date, growing out of a realization that Iraq could descend into chaos and that the current strategy is inadequate.
"The collapse of the strategy in Baghdad . . . caused a very deep introspection by the military," said a source connected to the Pentagon, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the topic............
the child is going to be (physically) fine it appears. that is a miracle in itself. we are talking a NEW BORN BABY being smashed about then jolted with a cattle prod.
what did the mother know? i cannot for the life of me believe the mother knew NOTHING. the torture took place over more than one day.
Somerset father accused in assault
By Caitlin Cleary, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
A Somerset County man has been accused of abusing his newborn daughter -- smashing her head into a bathroom sink and onto a dining room table, bending her leg over his shoulder until he heard it break and twice using an electric cattle prod on the baby.
Brandon Alan Austill, 21, of Somerset Borough, was charged Wednesday with aggravated assault, endangering the welfare of a child and possession of an electric or electronic incapacitation device.
The device, a hand-held prod called the Hot Shot Power-Mite, is used legitimately by dairy farmers, hog producers and large-animal veterinarians to deliver 4,500-volt shocks to cattle, pigs and other livestock. Its manufacturer warns buyers to keep the Power-Mite away from children.
Mr. Austill is being held at the Somerset County Jail in lieu of $75,000 bail. A preliminary hearing was set for 10 a.m. Thursday before District Judge Arthur K. Cook.
The infant girl, Candice Austill, suffered broken shin and thigh bones, a broken forearm, facial injuries and two separate skull fractures. She was airlifted to Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh on Oct. 31 for treatment. Candice was later released from Children's Hospital and is now in foster care, said Somerset Borough Police Chief Randy Cox.............
Pictorial Parade/Getty Images
Roberto Rossellini, center, in Rome in 1971 on the set of “Blaise Pascal” with his first wife, Marcella De Marchis, far right, and Isabella Rossellini, his daughter by his second wife, Ingrid Bergman.
“One can’t live without Rossellini,” a character declares in Bernardo Bertolucci’s 1964 film “Before the Revolution.” Yet, almost three decades after Roberto Rossellini’s death in 1977, most moviegoers in America manage to live without the Italian director, though perhaps not as happily as they might. With the vast majority of his films unavailable for home rental, the father of Italian neo-realism and Isabella Rossellini has been reduced to little more than a cinephile cult figure, a faded saint on an art house fresco.
The retrospective of Rossellini’s film and television work that opens on Wednesday at the Museum of Modern Art may not revive the director’s reputation, but it’s wonderfully welcome nonetheless, an instant, essential event. Organized by the museum and the Cinematheque Ontario, the show runs through Dec. 22 and is slated to travel to Los Angeles and London. It includes a parallel exhibition of Rossellini film posters (some on loan from Ms. Rossellini’s former husband, Martin Scorsese), and encompasses both familiar titles, like the neo-realist classic “Open City” (1945), and some of the more unfamiliar features he made for television after he seemed to abandon the art form he helped revolutionize. .........
.............Seven months later, bankrolled by a countess, with a script partly written by Federico Fellini, he began shooting “Open City,” about the men, women and children in Rome who resisted the German occupation. Production wrapped in May 1945, the same month German forces in Italy surrendered; by early the next year, critics were in raptures over a film in which, as one wrote, “people act like people, not actors.” In The New York Times, Bosley Crowther exulted: “To us who have been accustomed to the slickly manufactured sentiments of Hollywood’s studio-made pictures, the hard simplicity and genuine passion of this film lend to its not unfamiliar story the smashing impact of a shocking exposé.”
“Open City” may no longer shock, but even repeat viewings fail to blunt its force. Shot in black and white in studio sets and on location, the story loosely follows a partisan leader whose acquaintances include the saltiest salt of the earth, among them a neighborhood priest and a pregnant woman played by a magnificent Anna Magnani. ............
Exclusive: Charges Sought Against Rumsfeld Over Prison Abuse
A lawsuit in Germany will seek a criminal prosecution of the outgoing Defense Secretary and other U.S. officials for their alleged role in abuses at Abu Ghraib and GitmoBy ADAM ZAGORIN
Just days after his resignation, former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld is about to face more repercussions for his involvement in the troubled wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. New legal documents, to be filed next week with Germany's top prosecutor, will seek a criminal investigation and prosecution of Rumsfeld, along with Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, former CIA director George Tenet and other senior U.S. civilian and military officers, for their alleged roles in abuses committed at Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison and at the U.S. detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
The plaintiffs in the case include 11 Iraqis who were prisoners at Abu Ghraib, as well as Mohammad al-Qahtani, a Saudi held at Guantanamo, whom the U.S. has identified as the so-called "20th hijacker" and a would-be participant in the 9/11 hijackings. As TIME first reported in June 2005, Qahtani underwent a "special interrogation plan," personally approved by Rumsfeld, which the U.S. says produced valuable intelligence. But to obtain it, according to the log of his interrogation and government reports, Qahtani was subjected to forced nudity, sexual humiliation, religious humiliation, prolonged stress positions, sleep deprivation and other controversial interrogation techniques. ........
Friday, November 10, 2006
i loved your muhammed ali interview. i loved your lena interview. you got to howard stern as well. everyone from michael jackson to robin williams. you made me laugh, you made me think. i'll miss you mr bradley
Ed Bradley, TV Correspondent, Dies at 65
By JACQUES STEINBERG
Ed Bradley, a fixture in American living rooms on Sunday nights for a quarter century as a correspondent on “60 Minutes” and one of the first black journalists prominently featured on network television, died yesterday in Manhattan. He was 65.
Mr. Bradley died at Mount Sinai Medical Center of complications from chronic lymphocytic leukemia, said Dr. Valentin Fuster, his cardiologist and the director of the Cardiovascular Institute at Mount Sinai. Mr. Bradley, who underwent quintuple bypass heart surgery in 2003, learned he had leukemia “many years ago,” Dr. Fuster said, but it had not posed a threat to his life until recently, when he was overtaken by an infection.
Even some close colleagues, including Mike Wallace, did not know that Mr. Bradley had leukemia or that his health had precipitously deteriorated over the last few weeks. His most recent segments on “60 Minutes” were on Oct. 15 (on the rape allegations against three Duke University lacrosse players, whom he interviewed) and on Oct. 29 (an investigation of an oil refinery explosion in Texas City, Tex.). On the day that that last segment was broadcast, he was admitted to Mount Sinai and remained there until his death.
Though Mr. Bradley had largely concealed his illness, he and his wife, Patricia Blanchet, had reached out in recent days to some of his closest friends — including Charlayne Hunter-Gault of National Public Radio (who traveled to his bedside from her home in South Africa) and the singer Jimmy Buffett (who rushed to New York to be with him following a concert in Hawaii). ........
since he was on cbs, here's that link
Thursday, November 09, 2006
As Usual, It's the Fans Who Suffer
Britney and K-Fed Split, Yet Somehow Life Goes On
By Teresa Wiltz Washington Post Staff Writer Wednesday, November 8, 2006; D01
Of course we're all shocked that Britney Spears and Kevin Federline, now duly christened "Fed-Ex" in the blogosphere, have split. Maybe we shouldn't be surprised: After all, they have been separated since, um, Monday, according to court papers filed yesterday in Los Angeles. Then there's the little matter of Brit's first marriage, which lasted all of 55 hours -- not exactly the harbinger of an enduring union the second time around.
The reason behind her parting from K-Fed? "Irreconcilable differences," according to Britney's petition for divorce. Neither side would comment further. But the marriage of the pop princess and alleged rapper has resembled a circus train wreck ever since the couple hooked up in 2004.
They cranked out two kids in record time, and there have been omens of divorce since at least May, when Spears, 24, famously tossed out her man's booze supply and set ground rules against his posse's partying in her Malibu palace.
It's been a bad run of late for Federline, 28, who just released his aptly titled debut album, "Playing With Fire." (Rolling Stone called it "reprehensible.") He bombed at his concerts Friday and Saturday nights at Webster Hall in New York, performing to a woefully underfilled house. Gossip sites claimed he had to beg the club not to cancel the shows.......
hey, aren't we the people giving money to iraq to 'help' them? so if they're using OUR money, they would have to use OUR money to buy OUR fuel. so WE THE PEEPS are paying halliburton to rip off the iraqis. makes sense to me NOTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTT
Cost of Taking Fuel to Iraq Is Questioned in New Audit
By JAMES GLANZ
A Halliburton subsidiary charged the Iraqi government as much as $25,000 per month for each of as many as 1,800 fuel trucks that were to deliver gasoline to Iraq after the 2003 invasion, but the trucks often spent days or weeks sitting idle on the border, says a report released yesterday by an auditing agency sponsored by the United Nations.
The agency said in a statement that the auditing firm it hired had found that some of the contract costs that had been questioned earlier seemed to be justified. But the agency said the findings raised new questions about hundreds of millions of dollars billed by the company under a $2.4 billion contract that the Army awarded on the eve of the conflict to KBR, the Halliburton subsidiary formerly known as Kellogg Brown & Root.
The new audit gives the first detailed picture of how the company incurred many of those costs.
The audit said the Kuwaiti government had set the price of its gasoline at $1.13 a gallon. But with the delivery charges, the effective cost of the gas was calculated to be much higher, about $8 a gallon, according to a participant in a meeting in Paris last week at which the audits were presented to the auditing agency and the Iraqi government.
Questions have been raised about the contract since 2003, when it first became public that the contract had been awarded without competitive bidding.
Pentagon auditors challenged more than $200 million of KBR’s charges under the contract as potentially excessive or unjustified, and the agency designated by the United Nations to oversee Iraq’s vast oil revenues later recommended that the United States might have to repay some or all of that money to Iraq. .....
Wednesday, November 08, 2006
Tuesday, November 07, 2006
it MUST stop
Possible Iraq Deployments Would Stretch Reserve Force
Leaders Express Concern Over Troop Rotation Plans
By Ann Scott Tyson Washington Post Staff Writer Sunday, November 5, 2006; A01
The Army's National Guard and Reserve are bracing for possible new and accelerated call-ups, spurred by high demand for U.S. troops in Iraq, that leaders caution could undermine the citizen-soldier force as it struggles to rebuild.
Two Army National Guard combat brigades with about 7,000 troops have been identified recently in classified rotational plans for possible special deployment to Iraq, according to senior Army and Pentagon officials, who asked that the specific units not be named. One brigade could be diverted to Iraq next year from another assignment, and the other could be sent there in 2008, a year ahead of schedule.
Next year, the number of Army Guard soldiers providing security in Iraq will surge to more than 6,000 in about 50 companies, compared with 20 companies two years ago, Guard officials said. "We thought we'd see a downturn in operational tempo, but that hasn't happened," said one official.
A more sweeping policy shift is under consideration that would allow the Pentagon to launch a new wave of involuntary mobilizations of the reserves, as a growing proportion of Guard and Reserve soldiers are nearing a 24-month limit on time deployed, they said. Army officials said no decision had been made on the politically sensitive topic but that serious deliberations will unfold in the coming months.............
how anyone can believe in a god who is so nasty as to keep EVERYONE ELSE out of heaven is beyond me. how ANYONE can believe ONLY THEIR religion is the one true one is beyond me.
at any rate:
Perry believes Non-Christians doomed
Governor shares views following sermon; rivals pounce
08:45 AM CST on Monday, November 6, 2006
By CHRISTY HOPPE / The Dallas Morning News
SAN ANTONIO – Gov. Rick Perry, after a God and country sermon attended by dozens of political candidates Sunday, said that he agreed with the minister that non-Christians will be condemned to hell.
"In my faith, that's what it says, and I'm a believer of that," the governor said.
Gov. Rick Perry covered his face in prayer as Cornerstone Church pastor John Hagee and son Matthew, right, prayed for the good of the political candidates in attendance at the service in San Antonio on Sunday.
Throughout much of the 90-minute service at Cornerstone Church, Mr. Perry sat on the red-carpeted stage next to the Rev. John Hagee. Mr. Perry was among about 60 mostly Republican candidates who accepted the invitation to be introduced to the megachurch's congregation of about 1,500, plus a radio and TV audience.
"If you live your life and don't confess your sins to God almighty through the authority of Christ and his blood, I'm going to say this very plainly, you're going straight to hell with a nonstop ticket," Mr. Hagee said during a service interspersed with religious and patriotic videos.
you know THESE kinds of people scare me WAY WAY WAY more than militant iraqis
Monday, November 06, 2006
Accused of witchcraft, children kicked to the streets in Congo
By Shashank Bengali McClatchy Newspapers
KINSHASA, Congo - When Mando Mengi was 5, his mother died and his father remarried. His stepmother, a tall, mercurial woman with two children of her own, saw Mando as a burden and gave him endless chores while the other kids did nothing.
One day, Mando refused to sweep the dirt floor of their home. His stepmother found a sinister explanation for his stubbornness: He was practicing witchcraft.
She began to withhold food and sometimes beat him, saying it would purge the evil spirits. Finally, she gave his father an ultimatum: "You've brought a sorcerer into this house," Mando recalled her saying. "Either he leaves or I do."
Mando didn't wait for him to decide. He ran away, joining tens of thousands of children who live on the streets of this broken-down African capital - most of them, aid agencies say, rejected by families who accuse them of witchcraft.
In Congo, where belief in the power of spirits and black magic goes back centuries, boys and girls as young as 5 are bearing the brunt of witchcraft allegations that once were reserved for rural women and widows. Aid workers blame the social toll of decades of economic depression, disease and conflict, which have torn apart countless families and made daily life desperate for most of the country's 60 million people.
With 4 million Congolese thought to have perished mostly from illnesses and hunger since a civil war began in 1998, and with eight in 10 surviving on less than a dollar per day, children are sometimes seen as encumbrances, just more mouths to feed. For some parents and guardians, calling a child a sorcerer offers an easy explanation for their troubles and a chance to rid themselves of a dependent. ..........
FBI willing to go undercover in Congress if necessary
By Greg Gordon McClatchy Newspapers
WASHINGTON - The new chief of the FBI's Criminal Division, which is swamped with public corruption cases, says the bureau is ramping up its ability to catch crooked politicians and might run an undercover sting on Congress.
Assistant FBI Director James Burrus called the bureau's public corruption program "a sleeping giant that we've awoken," and predicted the nation will see continued emphasis in that area "for many, many, many years to come."
So much evidence of wrongdoing is surfacing in the nation's capital that Burrus recently committed to adding a fourth 15- to 20-member public corruption squad to the FBI's Washington field office.
In the past year, former Republican Reps. Duke Cunningham and Bob Ney have pleaded guilty to corruption charges. FBI agents are investigating about a dozen other members of Congress, including as many as three senators. The Justice Department also is expected to begin seeking indictments soon after a massive FBI investigation of the Alaska Legislature.
If conditions warrant, Burrus said, he wouldn't balk at urging an undercover sting like the famed Abscam operation in the late 1970s in which a U.S. senator and six House members agreed on camera to take bribes from FBI agents posing as Arab sheikhs.
"We look for those opportunities a lot," Burrus said, using words rarely heard at the bureau over the last quarter century. "I would do it on Capitol Hill. I would do it in any state legislature. ... If we could do an undercover operation, and it would get me better evidence, I'd do it in a second."
Philip Heymann, who oversaw the Abscam investigation as chief of the Justice Department's Criminal Division during the Carter administration, expressed surprise to learn of the FBI's willingness to attempt another congressional sting after the outcry from Capitol Hill over Abscam.
"It shows courage at the FBI," said Heymann, now a criminal law professor at Harvard University. He said he concluded, after watching a recent public television documentary and listening to experts, that "there is more corruption (on Capitol Hill) than I ever thought imaginable" and that a single FBI sting "might result in very large numbers of prosecutions."
But even without an undercover operation, Heymann and other observers say they have been pleased with the GOP-controlled Justice Department's willingness to pursue old-fashioned investigations, even if they hurt congressional Republicans in Tuesday's elections.
Nationally over the last year, 600 agents worked 2,200 public corruption cases, resulting in 650 arrests, 1,000 indictments and 800 convictions, Burrus said.
FBI Director Robert Mueller, who listed public corruption as his top criminal investigative priority when he shifted the FBI's focus to terrorism in 2002, said last month that the surge in convictions "sends the message that public corruption will not be tolerated." Despite the realignment, the number of agents working on public corruption has remained constant.
Burrus argued that the FBI is "uniquely qualified" to handle such cases, pointing to the bureau's political independence, exemplified by Mueller's 10-year term. Burrus said that Alice Fisher, the politically appointed chief of the Justice Department's Criminal Division with whom he confers weekly, also has "an aggressive attitude" about pursuing public officials.
"Operation Rainmaker," the FBI's broad investigation of a Washington lobbying ring, has already led to a handful of convictions, including Ney's guilty plea last month. The inquiry was one reason for the resignation last year of House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, R-Texas, who also faces state campaign finance charges. Other investigations seem to be sprouting everywhere. ..........
*adults of course
Will Robbie Williams become a fifth ABBA and bring the Swedish group out of retirement, turning it into BABAR for one glorious moment? The English pop singer is in talks with the brunette A of ABBA, Anni-Frid Lyngstad, about recording one of the band's megahits with them. "Robbie and I talked about doing an ABBA hit together," said Lyngstad. ..........
(of course road to mandalay is one of my all time favorite robbie williams songs. ba ba ba ba ba ba ba ba..................)
Sunday, November 05, 2006
Joao Silva for The New York Times
Sgt. Jesse E. Leach of the Marines assisted Lance Cpl. Juan Valdez-Castillo, who was shot by a sniper in the town of Karma. He survived.
By C. J. CHIVERS
Published: November 4, 2006
KARMA, Iraq, Nov. 3 — The bullet passed through Lance Cpl. Juan Valdez-Castillo as his Marine patrol moved down a muddy urban lane. It was a single shot. The lance corporal fell against a wall, tried to stand and fell again.
His squad leader, Sgt. Jesse E. Leach, faced where the shot had come from, raised his rifle and grenade launcher and quickly stepped between the sniper and the bloodied marine. He walked backward, scanning, ready to fire.
Shielding the marine with his own thick body, he grabbed the corporal by a strap and dragged him across a muddy road to a line of tall reeds, where they were concealed. He put down his weapon, shouted orders and cut open the lance corporal’s uniform, exposing a bubbling wound.
Lance Corporal Valdez-Castillo, shot through the right arm and torso, was saved. But the patrol was temporarily stuck. The marines were engaged in the task of calling for a casualty evacuation while staring down their barrels at dozens of windows that faced them, as if waiting for a ghost’s next move.........
we MUST bring our men and women home now. we cannot allow them to be killed or wounded FOR NO REASON. we DO NOT BELONG IN IRAQ. we never have. WE created the violence there both against us and against themselves.
O'Reilly Abortion Report Riles Kansas MD
By JOHN HANNA Associated Press Writer
An abortion doctor plans to ask for an investigation of the state attorney general and Bill O'Reilly over comments by the Fox television host that he got information from Kansas abortion records, the doctor's attorneys said Saturday.Dr. George Tiller said he will ask the Kansas Supreme Court on Monday to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate and take possession of the records of 90 patients from two clinics.Attorney General Phill Kline obtained the records recently after a two-year battle that prompted privacy concerns. He has said he sought the records to review them for evidence of possible crimes including rape and illegal abortions.During a Friday night broadcast of "The O'Reilly Factor," the conservative host said a "source inside" told the show that Tiller performs late-term abortions when a patient is depressed, which O'Reilly deemed "executing babies."O'Reilly also said his show has evidence that Tiller's clinic and another unnamed clinic have broken Kansas law by failing to report potential rapes with victims ages 10 to 15.A spokeswoman for Kline, who received redacted copies of the records Oct. 24, said Saturday he doesn't know how O'Reilly obtained the information.........