“Germany is no longer, as a matter of course or of principle, the motor, heart and savior of Europe. This isn’t the Europe we signed up for. It’s much larger, much poorer, and we have to take care of our own.” - Constanze Stelzenmüller
"The Germans haven’t changed,” - Nicolas Sarkozy
Pulitzer Prize: "Denver Post photojournalist Craig F. Walker, who chronicled in intimate, affecting detail a young man's journey from a high school student in Lakewood to a soldier fighting in Iraq and then back home, won the Pulitzer Prize for feature photography Monday." The subject of the journalistic piece and his family was sneaked into the Post building so that they could share the limelight when the winners were announced. Craig followed Ian Fisher around for for two years, from his senior year in high school to volunteering for the Army, through his training to produce an intimate story that was good reading along with the excellent photos... A reported for my local newspaper was also a finalist for his darker story on soldiers who came back from Iraq and committed violence once they were discharged. It became the basis for an HDNet video documentary that interviewed one of the soldiers in prison, where he stated that he learned that he enjoyed killing while in Iraq, became good at it, and couldn't stop once he returned...
"In a speech, the chairman of the Republican National Committee, Michael Steele, said 'I am the first here to admit I've made mistakes.' Then the stripper giving him a lap-dance said it will still be 20 bucks." –Jay Leno"all those kilos pressed, waiting for my order, never took the time to turn around"... barry mcguire
"There's a rumor going around that Hillary Clinton could be Obama's choice for the next Supreme Court justice. That's a lifetime appointment that would take up all of her time, or as Bill Clinton calls it, 'She'll take it.'" –Jimmy Fallon
It's going to be a bloody summer along the Texas - Mexican border, possibly worse than it has been, if you can believe it. Two rival drug cartels have formed an alliance against the Zetas drug cartel, so the expected turf wars will spill out into the streets and farms adjoining the border to act as dumping grounds for the bodies. In the meantime, the demand for marijuna has been cut in half, due to the rise in local growers in California and Colorado who service the medical marijuana dispensaries there. The DEA estimates that over half of Colorado's marijuana consumption needs are met through the medical marijuana model, which means less profit and demand for buying it on the streets. It has also cut down on heroin use, but I have no statistics on methamphetamines. It would be nice if Texas Governor rick Perry stopped his political grandstanding and sent more National Guard along the border to contain the violence, but he will act only after some more Americans are slaughtered by mistake, and he is pressured to do it. Hey, let's send some of these homegrown militias on down, give them a chance to be both racist and patriotic at the same time...
"Alan Greenspan, the former chairman of the Federal Reserve, said of his time in office, "I was wrong 30% of the time." Well that's not bad - for a weatherman - or a free throw shooter - but you were the Chairman of the Fed. We need the Fed to be on the pill and you ran it on the rhythm method." –Seth Meyerslord of the flies?..
"In Afghanistan, President Hamid Karzai is mad at the United States. We said his government is riddled with bribes, corruption, and pay-offs. I guess they're trying to pass healthcare over there too." –Jay Leno
"According to the Pentagon, al-Qaida has been so weakened financially that they're turning to crimes like drugs, prostitution, and adjustable-rate mortgages." –Jay Leno
With the numbers of people working at the Pentagon and the State Department running in the tens of thousands, how do you determine which ones have the ability to learn about the countries they are paid to focus on? Many of them are recruited fresh out of college, without any real life experience to mature them, and many were planted by the Bush administration to kill the very departments they worked for. The results being that our diplomats and military never seem to learn much needed lessons, culminating in the recent shooting of a public bus at sunrise in Kandahar, causing a public outcry against the US, and the bullshit coverup that military spokesmen tried to spin on the incident: "The shooting, which killed as many as five civilians and wounded 18, occurred on the eve of the most important offensive of the war. In coming weeks thousands of American, NATO and Afghan troops are expected to try to take control of the Kandahar region, the spiritual home of the Taliban. It was the latest case in which NATO or American forces fired on and killed civilians near a checkpoint or military convoy because they were perceived to have come too close or to be approaching too fast.
... The governor of Kandahar Province, Tooryalai Wesa, called for the commander of the military convoy that opened fire to be prosecuted under military law.“If you want to stop the bus, it should be shot in the tires,” Mr. Wesa said. “Why shoot the people inside?”
I feel for the young soldiers, and too much is expected of them at too young of an age. Mistakes like this happen all of the time, during every war, and these heartbreaking moments may haunt both the soldiers and the victims for the rest of their lives... "General McChrystal has sought to emphasize to troops how such cases undermine Afghan support. But he has also stressed his sympathy for troops who have to make critical decisions in an instant. “We really ask a lot of our young service people out on checkpoints because there’s danger, they’re asked to make very rapid decisions in often very unclear situations,” he told troops in a video conference last month.
“However, to my knowledge, in the nine-plus months I’ve been here, not a single case where we have engaged in an escalation of force incident and hurt someone has it turned out that the vehicle had a suicide bomb or weapons in it and, in many cases, had families in it.”
So, it seems that no matter how hard Stanley tries, we are not learning from our mistakes. As Gareth Porter sums it up in the Asia Times: "After eight years of operating in Afghanistan, the United States military still has no understanding of the personal, tribal and other socio-political conflicts at play. Though the US admits to its ignorance, it continues to carry out raids based on faulty intelligence from informants of unknown reliability that result in civilian deaths." Bummer, dudes.
This ineptness continues in Iraq and throughout the Middle East. Barack Obama gave an impressive speech in Cairo, but nothing followed it up, leaving many leaders to wonder if the Americans were capable of honoring their promises and commitments. We constantly send out conflicting messages to leaders like Karzai and Ahmadinejad, which only serves to piss everyone off. I have yet to see any intelligent handling of their situations, just reactive sound bites.
It all reminds me when, several years ago the savings and loan industry was deregulated, and young men were hired right out of college to travel to foreign countries and make million dollar loans to them. The results, after many of the countries defaulted on those loans, were the bankruptcies of many savings and loans, many people's savings disappeared, and many senior citizens were left out in the cold, worse than any death panels, that's for sure. Time to take a look to see if we aren't bankrupting our foreign policy, making empty promises, dropping the ball, or whatever metaphor you wish to add to the list; we are doing a pitifully poor job and not getting it done...
"Bristol Palin is continuing her campaign about teen pregnancy. It's funny that she's going around telling kids not to get pregnant when her mom is telling people, 'Drill, baby, drill.'" – Jimmy KimmelIt looks like Sarah Palin is having the last laugh, after all. She quit her job as Governor of Alaska, which paid $125,000, and since July she has raked in over $12 million, a hundredfold increase. Well, when I used to be a public servant myself and became frustrated at my bosses, we always said that those folks who failed in the private sector, then became public servants...
"Bristol was a pregnant teen herself. She named her baby 'Tripp,' with two p's, which is reason enough for teens not to have kids." – Jimmy Kimmel