Wednesday, February 6, 2008

At the End of the Day - February 6, 2008

Hey there y'all. Blue Girl again, doing a pale imitation of Apollo's nightly recap that puts the day in perspective. Fortunately I have a couple of fellow bloggers willing to chip in and help me out. Anyway, without further ado, lets do this thing...

Emptywheel discusses at length the twelve page letter from Attorney General Mukasey and NSA Director McConnell to Congress and it's petulant conveyance of the Bush Administration's threat to veto any version of a FISA reform bill that does not give them everything they want in powers to spy on American citizens at will and legal cover for their past actions.

NATO defense ministers, set to meet today, are expected to rebuff requests for an additional 7,500 troops for Afghanistan. Leaking this information pre-empts Condi and Prime Minister Gordon Brown. Gotta love protocol...Brown and Rice won't be asking for more troops, because the meeting in Vilnius is not formal - but they were still hoping someone would at least offer. Of course, with Gates still yammering on about how the allies have been punks, who can blame them for telling him to get bent?

If they gave awards for post titles...This one by Kate Shepard over at TAPPED would be a shoo-in for the gold: Lets Call the Coal Thing Off. Here is the gist of the post and the source WSJ article: Three of Wall Street's major investment banks, Citigroup Inc., J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. and Morgan Stanley say they have concluded that the U.S. government will cap greenhouse-gas emissions from power plants sometime in the next few years. The banks will require utilities seeking financing for plants before then to prove the plants will be economically viable even under potentially stringent federal caps on carbon dioxide, the main man-made greenhouse gas.

Mexican President Felipe Calderon is drawing down that country's armed forces in drug interdiction efforts. This strikes me as a big deal when you consider that in the 15 months since he took office, he has deployed 25,000 troops to fight drug cartels.

So let it expire! Mitch McConnell is leading an obstructionist effort in the Senate - here's the nickel version...They are holding up FISA until an unrelated economic stimulus package is passed. McConnell wants to stall FISA until the last minute so he can bestow upon the current occupant and his organized crime syndicate the remaining shreds of the Fourth Amendment. The current extension is set to expire in ten days. If Harry Reid had any lead in his pencil whatsoever, he would just get all Zen about it, shrug his shoulders, say "whatever" and let the damned thing expire. Shouldn't someone from Nevada just innately know when to call someones bluff?

Oh, this is encouraging. Aggrieved Shia are pleading with the Muqtada al-Sadr's Jaish al Mahdi to take up arms again to defend their interests. The six month cease fire ordered by the cleric is about to expire. Make no mistake, the Mahdi Army has not suffered greatly, they still control vast areas of Baghdad, and no one wants them as an enemy - nor believes the stand-down is permanent. And doesn't this dovetail nicely?

If you don't read Marc Lynch regularly, well, all I can say is "some people's kids!" He is a professor of Middle Eastern studies, and knows how to read the damned tea leaves. He is telling us that the so-called Anbar Awakenings are on the verge of falling apart, factions are threatening to go to war with one another, and they have told the Iraqi central government to bugger off. And you know what my very favorite thing about the internet is? When I say "I told you so!" I can prove it. Easily.

More from the "our Army is broke and George Bush is the vandal that broke it" evidence folder: Even as 20,000 troops are necessarily withdrawn from Iraq, it will not provide relief for a strained-to-breaking Army. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullen told the Senate Armed Services Committee that the military is exhausted by repeated deployments with no end in sight.

Yes, but diet and exercise are hard! After decades of developing treatments for Type II diabetes, on the premise that high blood sugar leads to heart disease, someone did a study, and it turns out that just the opposite is the case. Now - blood sugar isn't meaningless - it needs to be controlled - amputations, blindness and kidney failure are pretty serious side effects - but it looks like the medical establishment has been going about it the wrong way. But fitness centers and vegetable markets don't bribe physicians with perks like big pharma does, so it will be interesting to see if anything actually changes in treatment protocols.

And finally, an appeal - my blogging buddy Monkeyfister was right in the middle of the tornadoes that ripped through the southeast last night, and even live-blogged the storms. Click here and find out where you can send a couple of bucks to help out the good people in that area who are waiting patiently for the results of those prayers aWol promised to set about fixing everything. Skippy has (wonderfully worded) details, too. Let's get a blogswarm started on this. (H/T Cernig for spreading the word.)