Friday, April 21, 2006

Nurse wrongfully accused, Military spending and more

Good evening. It's the weekend! Let's kick it off with Democracy Now!

New Mexico VA Hospital Admits Nurse Wrongfully Accused
This update on a story we've been following: In New Mexico, Albuquerque's Veterans Affairs Medical Center has publicly admitted it wrongly accused one of its nurses of sedition. In September, the nurse, Laura Berg, wrote a letter to a local newspaper criticizing the Bush administration's handling of Hurricane Katrina and the Iraq war. Her employers responded by confiscating her computer. Shortly after she was informed she was being investigated. Up until this week, the hospital had given Berg a private apology, but had resisted calls to publicly admit that its allegations were false.

So I hear that and the first thing that stands out is that she got a private apology but the hospital didn't want to make a public one. Like the Bully Boy, they wanted to do what they did and they wanted to do it in private. If they could have Guantanamo-ized her, kept her from the public, she wouldn't have gotten an apology.

I'm adding this here because I was about to post when Wally called. I told him to call Elaine too. He's got his latest up "THIS JUST IN! FREE SPEECH DIED TODAY!" and had trouble with it today because he couldn't find any news that he could comment on. He'll make you laugh but he also chose a topic you should think about so go read it. (He called C.I. earlier and C.I. told him it was Friday and some news would come out so just relax, get some dinner, get away from the computer and check the news after.) So read "THIS JUST IN! FREE SPEECH DIED TODAY!" because you'll laugh and it will make you think.

I'm moving this up. I had it down lower but it's on this topic. Leigh Ann wrote to say she did enjoy Wally's stuff (and Betty's too but she's doing chapters and he's doing "jots"). she said she usually checks The Daily Jot in the evening when she's tired or has too much of the bad news. She said some of her girlfriends like it but not like when it comes to the guys. She can show it to some women and they might like it, she shows it to a guy and he's laughing. She wondered if it was more of a "guy thing"? She said she grew up with brothers and can watch Moe, Larry and Curly and she just laughs. She said she hoped Wally stayed the same.

He will. He's had a lot of success with the new focus of The Daily Jot. And he has fun with it too. And he's not going to have to appeal to everyone. Like Ma's site, Trina's Kitchen, she's offering some political thoughts and a recipe each weekend. She can bring in a new type of reader. Someone interested in cooking will go there and get a little politics too. Someone interested in humor will go to Wally's site and get a little humor there. We're all members of The Common Ills community and members are really great about checking out all the sites. But like, Wally or Ma or Betty or any of us could bring in someone that might not be into The Common Ills. Some might think, "Oh, politics. No thanks." So there are different ways to reach people and if you're speaking in your voice, you're going to reach some. Like Rebecca, she reaches a lot of high school students. They really respond to her. So every site brings something and if we're trying to get the word out and all, we need to go about it from lots of angles. At The Third Estate Sunday Review, Ava and C.I.'s TV reviews have brought in this loyal following. People hang around for other features and editorials and that's great but it's that feminist critique (with lots of humor) that Ava and C.I. offer that is the calling card for that site.

Leigh Ann wrote that she really loves Zoolander and can watch it over and over. Uh, earth to Leigh Ann. :D (They say "Earth to Brent" and stuff like that early in the movie.) I love that movie too. But like, say Wally's site is like Zoolander (he loves the movie). You go to see Wally on the big screen and you see some previews for other attractions. You might check out one of those. So that's like why C.I. always tells people they need to speak in their own voices. You're not going to get anyone interested if you try to write like everyone. Write like yourself and you'll get somebody to read it.

Monthly Spending on Iraq, Afghan Occupations Nears $10B
In other news, a new report from the Congressional Research Service says the US is now spending close to $10 billion dollars a month on the occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan -- an increase of nearly $8 billion dollars from one year ago.

Think that will turn anyone off to the war? Maybe the last hold outs will see that amount of money and think, "Why?" I wonder about the ones who still support the war, the holdouts. What's it going to take to reach them? Maybe they're fiscal conservatives and they'll read that and think, "Woah! Dude! Not on board!" Bully Boy's refused to put the cost of the war in a yearly budget. He does increments instead because it makes the number seem smaller.

We got a lot of money to toss around on war, don't we? Take this item and wonder how much we're paying people to do this -- "People sit on draft boards just in case:"

Right now, nearly eleven-thousand people sit on draft boards. They keep up on rules for granting postponements, deferments, exemptions and conscientious objector status. They also learn how to hold meetings, judge evidence and elicit testimony.

If we go to war with Iran or others, we'll need that draft. Bully Boy's done a lot of "work" on the draft boards. If Bully Boy "works" panics. Here an article with some statistics/figures on when we had the draft and I'll note one statistic:

Historically 2 percent seek conscientious objector status, declining to serve on religious or moral grounds.

So let's take a look at Iraq, via one of C.I.'s "snapshots" (roundup of news item):

Reuters reports that Cambodia has turned down requests to send troops to Iraq.This as the BBC notes Tory MP Michael Ancram's call for withdrawal from Iraq by all British troops. Ancram's statements break with his party's official position. Though
Jawad al-Maliki is the new nominee for prime minister in Iraq, some aren't waiting for parlimentary process to make deals that will effect Iraq for decades.
Reuters is reporting that Shamhi Faraj, director general of marketing and economics in the oil ministry, has announced that the Iraqi parliment doesn't need to pass the investment law, oil contracts can start now. That is important to the US administration, they're getting antsy that they won't be able to install a new figurehead soon enough. The investment "law" doesn't need to become "law" says Faraj. Do the Iraqis want it? No. This is more US policy stamped "Iraqi" and passed off as a sign of "democracy." In a true democracy, other countries don't design the potential laws and the proposal does not go into effect before it's been passed into law. As Exxon and Chevron (and others) sniff around, it's worth noting that this is one more aspect of the (illegal) occupation that causes tension and strife. It's not unrelated. More traditionally recognized violence continued in Iraq today.
Iraqi police officers continue to be killed.
AFP notes the death of seven including five killed near Tikrit. Irish Examiner reports that four police officers died in Mosul (roadside bomb) and that, in Baghdad, at least nine Iraqi police officers were wounded in road side bombings. While in Baquba, a police officer walking to his house was gunned down.
Corpses were discovered by police, six in Baghdad, one in Mahmudiya. Al Bawaba reports that two bodies with signs of torture were discovered between Qaem and Rutba. One body that was identified earlier this week, reports CBC News, was Sadeq Aldifai. A Montreal tailor, Aldifai left Iraq in 1991. He was returning for his first visit since 1991 and had hopes of seeing his two eldest daughters. In Beiji, the Associated Press reports that six Iraqi soldiers were killed following a kidnapping by unidentified people. Finally, in Al Diwaniya, Deutsche Presse-Agentur addresses a rocket attack aimed at a US Army base: "The extent of the damage inflicted on the US base and information regarding casualties was not yet know."