“When you get this far away from a recession invariably forces build up for the next recession, and indeed we are beginning to see that sign.”
The governors of Arizona, California, New Mexico, Oregon and Washington today announced they will “work together to reduce greenhouse gases, saying their region has suffered some of the worst of global warming with recent droughts and bad fire seasons.” The Western Regional Climate Action Initiative will “develop a regional target to lower greenhouse gases and create a program aimed at helping businesses reach the still-undecided goals.”
Clarissa Ward from Fox News blogs: “There have been three attacks in the last month involving the use of chlorine gas. In high concentrations, chlorine mixes with moisture in your eyeballs and respiratory tracts, and forms a pungent acid that then eats away at the tissue. Not a nice way to go. The first thing to do if you see a yellow/green cloud of gas, or if people around you are choking, is to stop breathing immediately and then run to your mask. The masks are intensely claustrophobic and very fiddly to get on and off. I kept pulling chunks of my hair out and I never managed to hold my breath before the mask was secured. I am hoping that I will get better with some practice.” (HT: IraqSlogger)
This story sure is weird. I thought everybody knew that if you could read the Chinese-language menus in NYC’s Chinatown (and, I assumed, Chinatowns elsewhere) that you would find lower prices on at least some dishes. Now it’s not only being reported as a big scandal, the city’s Human Rights Commission is looking into it. Travelers to poorer countries are surely also familiar with this phenomenon, where the staff will sometimes be able to helpfully provide you with an English-language menu featuring higher prices. I’m not really sure what’s wrong with this kind of business practice; it’s no different from offering student fares on airlines or senior citizens’ discounts at movie theaters.
UPDATE: Let me say a bit more about this. The people suffering from the discrimination here are people who can’t speak Chinese. It’s not as if we non-sinophones are some kind of incredibly put-upon and powerless minority here in the United States that needs city officials to be zealously defending our rights.
In an effort to push back against congressional efforts to rescind the original 2002 Iraq War resolution, White House press spokesman Tony Fratto on Friday argued the United Nations had authorized the initial U.S. invasion of Iraq:
“The president said this isn’t the fight we entered in Iraq, but it’s the fight we’re in,” Fratto told reporters Friday. “We went in as a multinational force under U.N. authorization to take military action in Iraq. We were there as an occupying force, and now we’re there at the invitation of the sovereign, elected government of Iraq.”
Actually, the White House did not invade Iraq “under U.N. authorization.” President Bush had promised to take the issue to the U.N. Security Council “no matter what the whip count,” but never did. U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan described the invasion of Iraq as “not in conformity with the UN charter…from the charter point of view, it was illegal.”
It’s one thing to spin history; it’s quite another to rewrite it from scratch.
OpenCongress — a new project by the Sunlight Foundation and the Participatory Politics Foundation — “brings together official government data with news and blog coverage to give you the real story behind each bill.” Check it out.
If you’ve ever been frustrated with the comprehensive-yet-nightmarish Thomas congressional infromation system from the Library of Congress, the new OpenCongress.org looks like it just might be the cure, bringing some of that Web 2.0 goodness to the basic task of telling you which bills are where, cosponsored by whom, who voted which way when, etc.
As ThinkProgress has documented, the death of Anna Nicole Smith was a feeding frenzy for the national media. While many cable news shows have moved on to other stories, Fox News host John Gibson remains fixated on the late Playboy playmate. Every day since Smith’s death on Feb. 8, Gibson has devoted significant segments of his show “The Big Story” to Anna Nicole.
On his radio show on Friday, Gibson attempted to defend his coverage. He accused reporters — such as CNN’s Anderson Cooper — of “news-guy snobbery” and attacked them for covering the Iraq war. Mocking Cooper, he said, “Oh, ‘There’s a war on! There’s a war on!’ Maybe, just maybe, people are a little weary, Mr. Cooper, of your war coverage, and they’d like a little something else.”
Since Smith’s death on Feb. 8, 42 U.S. soldiers have died fighting in Iraq. Approximately 969 Iraqis have been killed. Americans aren’t weary of the media’s war coverage, they’re weary of the war itself.
Transcript: Read more
“Many Iraq war soldiers, veterans and their families are not getting needed psychological help because a stressed military’s mental health system is overwhelmed and understaffed, a task force of psychologists found.” The group’s report cited such problems as a “40 percent vacancy rate in active duty psychologists in the Army and Navy, resources diverted from family counselors and a weak transition for veterans leaving the military.”
The Washington Post editorial board — which four years ago called President Bush’s plan for war in Iraq “an operation essential to American security” — is now harshly attacking Rep. John Murtha’s (D-PA) effort to increase support for the overstretched U.S. military and restrain Bush’s Iraq escalation.
The Post claims that Murtha’s plan “crudely [hamstrings] the ability of military commanders to deploy troops,” and that “Murtha’s cynicism is matched by an alarming ignorance about conditions in Iraq.” (We’ve taken apart these claims HERE.)
Thankfully, the American people haven’t bought the Post’s talking points. A new Washington Post/ABC News poll shows that Americans strongly back Murtha’s plan to strengthen U.S. forces:
Would you support or oppose Congress trying to block Bush’s plan by creating new rules on troop training and rest time that would limit the number of troops available for duty in Iraq?
Support: 58 percent
Oppose: 39 percent
Unknown: 4 percent
The poll also shows that opposition to escalation continues to grow. In the latest poll, Americans oppose sending more U.S. forces to Iraq by a margin of 67 percent to 32 percent. That’s up from 65/34 on January 19 and 61/36 on January 10.
UPDATE: The Washington Post’s article on the new poll doesn’t mention the results of the question on Murtha’s plan.