Sunday, March 9, 2008

At the End of the Day

This is some really, really good advice and I can think of a whole gaggle of people who ought to take it to heart and implement it in practice.

This is what war profiteering gets you - Dozens of U.S. troops in Iraq fell sick at bases using "unmonitored and potentially unsafe" water supplied by the military and a contractor once owned by Vice President Dick Cheney's former company, the Pentagon's internal watchdog says...A report obtained by The Associated Press said soldiers experienced skin abscesses, cellulitis, skin infections, diarrhea and other illnesses after using discolored, smelly water for personal hygiene and laundry at five U.S. military sites in Iraq.

Dunno about you, but I prefer Serbia to be stable and when it isn't I get nervous, and I'm pretty damned nervous right now, but I remember the 90's. President Boris Tadic indicated he would call early elections after the prime minister announced that he was planning to dissolve his governing coalition, which would have effectively toppled the government. Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica said he would ask the government to resign because he could no longer rule in a coalition with Tadic's pro-Western Democratic Party. The elections will set the national tone for the near-term and determine whether Serbia embraces the West or returns to virulent nationalism.

Is the bloom perhaps fading from Sarkozy's rose
? His center-right UMP party suffered setbacks in the first round of voting in municipal elections across France on Sunday, although the party did stave off the landslide losses that some had predicted. Leftist leaders are urging their followers to turn out in force for the March 16 run-off balloting and transform the initial gains into decisive victory. "Everything remains open. Nothing has been won or lost," said Socialist leader Francois Hollande, encouraging voters to turn out next weekend.

Spain maintained a leftward bent on Sunday with the Socialist party winning the country's parliamentary elections. Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero has ruled since 2004 with a plurality. A pall was cast over the elections by the assassination on Friday of a former Socialist town councilman, Isaias Carrasco, who was killed in an attack in northern Spain blamed on the Basque separatist group ETA.

Image is everything Water is being diverted from arid farming regions of China to make everything look green and lush for the Olympics next year. Water use during the games is projected to be 2.75 million cubic metres every day, or about 30 per cent above normal.

MSNBC Finally--FINALLY--cancels Tucker Carlson. Insiders tell TVNewser Tucker Carlson's 6pmET show Tucker is getting the axe, but Carlson stays on as a political contributor to all MSNBC shows at least through the 2008 election. The official announcement, expected tomorrow, will include details about who will replace Tucker at 6pmET as well as other political programming additions. Sources say the network is going to beef up its schedule with more NBC News talent.

The winners of the February parliamentary elections in Pakistan have reached an agreement to form a new government. They are wasting no time, they intend to immediately challenge the United States-backed president, Pervez Musharref, by restoring the judiciary that he sacked.

McCain plans to take advantage of the fact that the Democrats are still vying for the nomination to replenish his coffers. And lest anyone forget that McCain is simply a surrogate for a third Bush term, he is even using aWol's fundraising strategy - except "Rangers" are to be called "Trailblazers" and "Pioneers" are going to be called "Innovators." McCain is focusing on fundraising because Democrats are lapping Republicans across the board where fundraising is concerned. McCain has raised $55 million - while Clinton and Obama have each raised approximately $140 million.

My friend Steve Benen has been very diligent in documenting the wrongness that is John McCain. His archives are a treasure trove of vital information that highlights the putziness of the GOP nominee. On Iraq, he has't been nearly as right as he likes to pretend he has been. He was fluffing Chalabi in the 90's. A complete list of McCain's most staggering flip-flops can be found here. It is safe to assume that there will be a quiz later...

File this under "better late than never"
For the most part, military commanders asked "who do you want to answer the phone at 3:00 a.m.?" answer unequivocally "Not McCain. His knee-jerk response factor is a little scary."

"I like McCain. I respect McCain. But I am a little worried by his knee-jerk response factor," said retired Maj. Gen. Paul Eaton, who was in charge of training the Iraqi military from 2003 to 2004 and is now campaigning for Clinton. "I think it is a little scary. I think this guy's first reactions are not necessarily the best reactions. I believe that he acts on impulse."..."I studied leadership for a long time during 32 years in the military," said retired Air Force Maj. Gen. Scott Gration, a one-time Republican who is supporting Obama. "It is all about character. Who can motivate willing followers? Who has the vision? Who can inspire people?" Gration asked. "I have tremendous respect for John McCain, but I would not follow him."..."One of the things the senior military would like to see when they go visit the president is a kind of consistency, a kind of reliability," explained retired Gen. Merrill McPeak, a former Republican, former chief of staff of the Air Force and former fighter pilot who flew 285 combat missions. McPeak said his perception is that Obama is "not that up when he is up and not that down when he is down. He is kind of a steady Eddie. This is a very important feature," McPeak said. On the other hand, he said, "McCain has got a reputation for being a little volatile." McPeak is campaigning for Obama.