Monday, October 25, 2010

Oh No, We Forgot To Fund The Iraqi Rehab Units! Caution, Catalonian Women At Work

Amy Gardner
Leslie Gelb
Paul Krugman
"Clarence Thomas's wife this week on Saturday morning calls up Anita Hill 19 years later to ask her to apologize. Drunk dial much? And she did the right thing. She apologize. She said I'm truly sorry you're married to Clarence Thomas." – Bill Maher

"Clarence Thomas's ex-girlfriend came forward to say Anita Hill was right, he is a pervert. He was obsessed with porn and big breasts. And that's just a taste of what's in store on the next episode of Real Housewives of the Supreme Court." – Bill Maher
"During a debate on Meet the Press, Colorado Republican Senate candidate Ken Buck said that he believes being gay is a choice. Interesting position, Ken Buck. Did your name choose to be gay?" – Seth Meyers

I think I will run in the next elections. No, not here in America, but in Iraq. I would receive about $89,000 upon winning, to help pay for new suits and pencils and stuff I may need. I would get a housing stipend, because I will have to move into a much more expensive house to keep up appearances. And, whether I show up in parliament or not, I will be paid $11,000 per month. Not a bad scam at all, not counting that I could be killed or kidnapped at any moment...

But the party may soon be over. This morning the Iraqi Supreme Court announced that all representatives must report for session, because their recess to make back-room deals over who will become prime minister, has been declared unconstitutional. Once parliament meets, there is a specific time line involved towards picking a prime minister and a working government: "No leading political bloc seemed eager to have Parliament meet again, at least not until the framework for an agreement was reached.

The broadest fault line in those negotiations remains a contest between Mr. Maliki and an alliance led by Ayad Allawi, a secular Shiite and former interim prime minister, whose group won two more seats than Mr. Maliki’s. Both coalitions are soliciting the support of the Kurds, deemed essential for gathering a majority in Parliament. Although Mr. Maliki’s chances seem best, the Kurds have pushed for an inclusive government with Mr. Allawi’s participation, a compromise that would almost certainly require curbing the prime minister’s powers.

The eventual deal will underline the influence of foreign powers — the United States, Iran and Turkey — in Iraq. The sense of machinations and backroom dealings has added to popular resentment, and some analysts hailed Sunday’s decision, at minimum, as a step toward transparency in the negotiations.

“At the very least,” said William Warda, a political analyst, “it will create dialogue inside Parliament, where debates will be open, and not in closed rooms or outside Iraq, where you don’t know what’s going on.” Discussions will be enlivened by the recent Wikileaks documents, a lot of fingers will be pointed, and the public will get madder and madder at their politicians. The mood might be right for Sarah Palin, there, too...

In another news story from the NY Times, after spending over $22 billion training and outfitting the Iraqi army and police,it seems we forgot to include some medical rehab units for when the officers become addicted to drugs and alcohol. It has become a factor why suicide bombers are getting past checkpoints. The officers manning the posts often work over 12 hour days without time off during the week, and so they look to Iranian prescription drugs and Western made whiskeys to alleviate their psychic pain and boredom. It's not inside infiltrators that is letting the trucks full of explosives past them, but stoned soldiers who often are incoherent and can't see straight... It looks like all of our objectives we think we accomplished in Iraq are unraveling and coming undone, and we might want to rethink our strategies towards training the Afghan armies and police, so the same thing doesn't happen the minute that General Petraeus turns his back and walks away...

Prostitution in Spain isn't against the law, but profiting from it is... A bit like what the marijuana laws in the US should be, I guess. Police in Catalonia are making their working girls wear yellow protective safety vests, much like the road crews use, whenever they are standing alongside the highways looking for sex. This makes me wonder about the culture of automobiles and the road in Spain, do men wander from small town to town, checking out the women alongside the highways? How proud are the parents when their darling daughters bring home their first yellow safety vest? Will the highway safety departments put up signs that say: Caution Women At Work

I'm forcing myself to read all of the national press coverage about the elections, expecting the tone of journalism to rise to a fever pitch by Friday. I think Rand Paul is debating tonight, hopefully it will be carried on CSPAN. Rand is just the kind of sanctimonious person that I like to heckle, so I expect to get boisterous in my armchair. Now that my local football team lost to the Oakland Raiders 59 - 14, there's not much left to get excited about... If I were a student of politics, I'd take notes. Thankfully, I am way past that, I just hope I don't set my beard on fire lighting up the after-dinner cigar...

I already filled out my ballot. Like so many other Coloradans, I find myself voting for a mixture of candidates, some Democratic, some Republican, and some from the teeny tiny parties that are just lucky to get a listing on the ballot. Like myself, many others are disgusted by the negative campaign ads, mostly used in the Bennet - Buck senatorial race. It may cost both of them votes, as I think that people won't vote for either on of them in protest to the ads. A piece in the NY times on the attitudes of Northern Coloradans reports on similar attitudes. I am impressed how many older folk actually take the time to research and follow the issues, though I seldom talk to many younger folks anymore. The view from Loveland: "That Americans are angry and anxious heading toward the Nov. 2 elections has become a truism, an assumption built into candidate calculations from the lowest local alderman on up. Plot a voter’s place on the rage scale, and voilĂ , out pops a prediction of the expected anti-Democrat, or anti-establishment, backlash.

Voters like Daryl Pike have a different word for it: lost."

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