"Today, one in five Americans is unemployed, underemployed or just plain out of work. One in nine families can't make the minimum payment on their credit cards. One in eight mortgages is in default or foreclosure. One in eight Americans is on food stamps. More than 120,000 families are filing for bankruptcy every month." - Elizabeth Warren
"We're not just going to throw these guys into the swimming pool and walk away." - Defense Sec Robert Gates
addressed the Afghan Parliament, explaining President Obama's strategy, and it went over quite well: "I believe that by next summer you'll see significant improvements in security ... By this time next year - one year from now - I believe I'll be able to tell you that the strategy is clearly working and will be successful and I'll be able to point out that to you."
McChrystal also scored a first, impressing the Parliament and making goodwill: "Mirwais Yassin, the deputy speaker of the Afghan parliament, told Al Jazeera that it was the first time someone in the "coalition" in Isaf [International Security Assistance Force] addressed Afghan legislators about the war strategy. "That was very, very good and we appreciated it. We wish it could have been there since 2001 or 2002 [when the war began]," he said. We've been there over eight years and we are just now getting around to having a military officer brief their elected officials as to what we intend to do in their country? Instead of accusing them of being too corrupt, why didn't we ever get off our lazy asses and try building a relationship with the people who matter? They may not be as two-faced, venal, and as shallow as our Congress, but you never know until you hire a good interpreter... Anyway, we will be using Hamid Karzai, who is Pashtun, to try and get the Taliban to stop fighting and negotiate while we secure certain parts of the country and train the Afghan troops. Now if only we also could get them to stop deserting...
20 other countries have signed on to send more troops through NATO, including countries like Slovakia and Turkey. Turkey is hoping to be allowed to join the European Union, which will bolster their trade. Italy will be sending 1,000 more, but they may all be Berlesconi"s old girlfriends and political rivals.
And Pakistan reacted pretty much the way we thought they would, not believing Obama's strategy. They feel that if we leave in 18 months, the Afghan Taliban will come back and punish them, maybe invite India to have an outpost or two. Asia is the home to more conspiracy theories, and each individual has their own, unique twist. They are afraid that the US wants to take over their country like a 19th century colonial power, or that we want to take their nuclear arsenal away, or that we want to establish a puppet head of government like the one we have there now...
south of our border...
Honduras had another election, and Manuel Zelaya's old rival was elected president. Their parliament voted to not let Zelaya take office and serve out the dismal few weeks he would have left. I wonder what he did to piss these people off so much, the answer they gave when they kicked him out of the country was pretty lame, that he was trying to pervert their Constitution by wanting another term. It could be that someone wanted to confiscate the farm he owns, or he slept with someone's wife. It has to be something more concrete than the fact he has a big ego and was making an ass out of himself. Politicians do that every day, as well as professional golfers... I will start combing the gossip rags down south to see what dirt I can drag up... The State Department seems to just be watching from the sidelines, maybe they think its a telemundo script, and they are waiting for the punch line... I don't know, maybe he can be our goodwill ambassador to Brazil, for all the time he and his entourage have camped out in their embassy...
how about some late night political humor:
"This Tiger Woods thing has had an effect on a lot of people. In fact, earlier today, Elizabeth Edwards went out and bought a new set of golf clubs." –Jay Leno
"President Obama last night ordered 30,000 more troops in Afghanistan to fight the Taliban, but on an 18-month timetable. In a related story, the Taliban announced they are on a 19-month timetable." –Jay Leno
"The good news, Obama said he expects to start bringing our troops home in two years. The bad news, Bush said the same thing seven years ago." –Jay Leno
"President Obama gave his speech last night at West Point. He was going to give it at the White House, but he wanted some place with better security." –Jay Leno
"You know what we should do? Get rid of the Secret Service, bring in some nightclub bouncers." –Jay Leno
"But this is serious, because that couple who crashed the White House state dinner ended up meeting the president. Did you see that? There's a photo of them meeting face-to-face with President Obama, which is amazing when you realize that even Fox News had not met face-to-face with President Obama." –Jay Leno
"And The Washington Post suggested today that this party-crashing couple may have a long history of deceiving people. Well, no wonder they fit in at the White House." –Jay Leno
"A group has now filed papers to nominate Dick Cheney to run for president of the United States in 2012. You may have heard of the group, Halliburton." –Jay Leno
"New reports on Sarah Palin's 'Going Rogue' bus tour. They say she's been traveling on private planes to various stops and then just hops in the bus at the local town. So, let's see what you got. You have Sarah Palin, who's no longer governor, who's promoting a book she didn't actually write by going on a bus tour which is not really a bus. Her big complaint? Politicians who aren't real." –Jay Leno
"I watched Oprah interview Sarah Palin a couple weeks ago. Spent a whole hour talking to her. And I realized, if John McCain had done that, we never would have heard of Sarah Palin." –Jay Leno
"Everybody's talking about President Obama's speech last night. He's sending 30,000 more troops to Afghanistan. Right now, in Scandinavia, the Nobel Committee is really rethinking the whole peace prize." –Craig Ferguson
"Anyway, the good news is the first people Obama sends to Afghanistan are those White House party crashers, so it's not all bad." –Craig Ferguson
"Last night, President Obama gave a speech at West Point. Right in the middle, they cut to a cadet who was sleeping. That cadet was immediately assigned to work security at the next White House state dinner." –Conan O'Brien
"Last night, Fox commentator Bill O'Reilly said that President Obama's speech was 'no Gettysburg address.' When he heard this, Larry King said: 'How would you know? I don't remember seeing you there.'" –Conan O'Brien
"Time magazine plans to announce its 'Person of the Year' next week. And top contenders include President Obama and Steve Jobs. The other top contender? The one guy who still reads Time magazine." –Conan O'Brien
"This is interesting. A list of this year's 15 most commonly used words has been released. And it includes H1N1, deficit and health care. Not making the list this year, Chrysler-mania." –Conan O'Brien
"After three months of will he or won't he, the president went on all the major networks and NBC to finally reveal what he is going to do about Afghanistan. And for critics who say Americans haven't sacrificed for these wars, well, they have now. Because last night, the president's speech actually preempted the annual showing of 'A Charlie Brown Christmas.' Good grief, it's literally a war on Christmas." –Stephen Colbert