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Monday, January 23, 2006

Monday News Round-Up

The educated elites of Iraqi society are leaving, as violence in the country escalates, according to the WaPo.
"They may come back if it's safe," Fayed said.

Or they may not. Since the fall of Hussein, kidnapping has mushroomed into a lucrative business. Even children are snatched, to be ransomed the same day for a few hundred dollars from their distraught parents.

Anyone displaying signs of wealth, often professionals and businessmen, are particular targets of kidnappers in search of high ransoms. However, payment is no guarantee a hostage will not simply be killed and dumped; some authorities claim dozens of bodies are found every day but never reported.
And speaking of hostages, no news on Jill Carroll as yet, either.

George Bush is on a tour to promote his "I'm the Preznit and I'll Break the Law If I Feel Like It" plan for national security. Next up, the Karl Rove "Indict My Ass, But I'll Keep Working in the West Wing Anyway Until You Drag Me Out in Handcuffs, Because My Boss Is a Scofflaw" speaking circuit.

Oh, and if you, regular American citizen get so much as a parking ticket that goes unpaid long enough, they'll throw a huge fine at you and throw your butt in jail for contempt. Don't start getting the idea that just anyone can break the law whenever he feels like -- in the world according to Rove, only the Preznit gets to break the law -- even when he didn't have to do so in the first place because he was already allowed to do surveillance, so long as he got a rubber stamp warrant within 72 hours after he started the wiretap. That was just too much bother -- who cares about the Constitution or the Congress, anyway? Boy, that's good to be da King.

According to the LATimes, Nancy Pelosi's job as Minority Leader is a lot like herding cats. But she's staying cheery about it anyway. And with a caucus that's holding together at around 88% -- well, that's something to be cheery about in my book.

Every time Victoria Toensing opens her mouth, another reason to vote against Alito falls out. Man, is she the worst Republican shill in history or what? They should have titled this article "Toensing Kisses Bush Butt and Other Inaccurate Musings." Hey, I know, as an officer of the Court, Vicki, how about saying that when the President doesn't follow the law, he's commiting a felony. Each and every time he authorizes an illegal action.

Ralph Reed has had to resort to paying people to show up at a rally so he could ensure a crowd. That may be the most pathetic thing I have read today. (From Carpetbagger Report, via Josh at TPM.) Okay, I have to clear my conscience and admit that I laughed out loud while reading this. There, I've said it. I'm mean and evil. Mwahaha.

What kind of Grandpa exploits his granddaughter in an attempt to gain sympathy for his felon offspring? Family values on display from your local GOP lobbyist clan.

Oh, and Bushie wants an expanded Secret Service so he can have a national police force at his disposal. Guess they've had more of a Bush protestor event infiltration problem than we realized. (Via TalkLeft.)

(Graphic from the exceptional Miyazake anime "Spirited Away." All Miyazake anime is good, but this one in particular is magical and worth repeat viewings. Fiona and I watch a lot of "Kiki's Delivery Service," because Spirited is a bit too intense for her at this age -- but this is one of my movies of choice when I need comfort viewing. The scene where Chihiro goes to the train station and rides it to the furthest stop is particularly fine. This is a great soundtrack, too; very centering, and I play track 16 on a repeat loop sometimes when I'm working on an in-depth piece.)