Wednesday, March 08, 2006

News roundup 03.08.2006

Don't worry, Cheney's no longer in charge

I have always had a low opinion of the Vice President.
We are the hollow men
We are the stuffed men
Leaning together
Headpiece filled with straw. Alas!
Our dried voices, when
We whisper together
Are quiet and meaningless
As wind in dry grass
Or rats' feet over broken glass
In our dry cellar
Ron Hutcheson of the Philadelphia Inquirer notes:
The conflicting themes - Cheney upbeat and emphasizing progress, Khalilzad stressing the difficulties and dangers - highlight the Bush administration's struggle over how to deal with bad news from Iraq. Striking the right balance between optimism and realism could be crucial as Republicans head into the November elections with their control of Congress on the line.

Upbeat assessments feed public expectations for withdrawing troops. Candor about the difficulties could increase discontent over the war.
Steven Weisman of the New York Times has a story headlined "Cheney Warns of 'Consequences' for Iran on Nuclear Issue", however:
Despite Mr. Cheney's comments, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice ruled out an early push for sanctions.

"There is still time, of course, for the Iranians to react," Ms. Rice said after meeting with the Russian foreign minister, Sergey V. Lavrov, at the State Department. "But we have been very clear that we did not think that as a first matter, we would try to move to sanctions in the first step of the Security Council."
But Cheney's comments are nonetheless important, as he still holds an office in the administration.

The Times of London: "Iran threatens US with 'harm and pain'"

Scott McClellan (via CNN): "U.S.: Iran remarks 'provocative'"

BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- The bodies of 18 men have been found strangled with their hands tied behind their backs in western Baghdad, an official with the Baghdad Emergency Police said Wednesday.

Later Wednesday, police said as many as 50 workers at an Iraqi private security firm in the capital were seized by men wearing camouflage uniforms.
The A.P.:
BAGHDAD, Iraq // The U.S. ambassador held talks with a top Shiite leader yesterday as Iraqi factions wrangled over a new government. The prime minister declared he would not be "blackmailed" into stepping aside, and the Shiite majority balked at convening the parliament.
Domestic politics


The Boston Globe: "GOP senators refuse eavesdropping inquiry"

The New York Times: "G.O.P. Senators Say Accord Is Set on Wiretapping"

The Phila. Inquirer: "Senate Republicans block spying probe"

The Los Angeles Times: "Republicans Kill Request for Spy Program Inquiry"

Port security...

The Washington Post:
Efforts by the White House to hold off legislation challenging a Dubai-owned company's acquisition of operations at six major U.S. ports collapsed yesterday when House Republican leaders agreed to allow a vote next week that could kill the deal.
The Los Angeles Times: "GOP Bill Would Block Ports Deal"

The New York Times: "G.O.P. Leaders Vowing to Block Ports Agreement"

Energy costs...

The Houston Chronicle (A.P.):
WASHINGTON -- The Senate has agreed to put an additional $1 billion this year into a program to help poor people with energy costs, but only after overcoming resistance from warm state senators who said those suffering from summer heat weren't getting their fair share.
New Orleans...

The New Orleans Times Picayune:
Weather data showing the need to raise the height of levees to defend New Orleans against stronger hurricanes was not incorporated in Army Corps of Engineers designs, even though the agency was informed of the new calculations as early as 1972, government records show.

The Guardian:
More than 20 million people in the Horn of Africa are at risk of famine in conditions which the head of the World Food Programme (WFP) described yesterday as the worst in his experience.

The Guardian:
So while the world remains transfixed on the bloody ruins of the president's Middle East policies, shattering illusions that America's military punch would settle a political fight, George Bush and his secretary of state ,Condoleezza Rice, are seeking to take advantage of the changing power relations in another part of the globe.

The president's trip to south Asia must be seen the light of his nation's subtly shifting policies. Afghanistan gets a stopover visit from the president, stamping that country with a seal of approval. India gets its natural ally status and a bagful of American deals, especially its recognition as a nuclear power. Pakistan gets a press conference and a cricket match.

The Chicago Tribune:
MEXICO CITY -- Cubs slugger Derrek Lee looked at the "shipment" from the Mexican "launcher" and then smacked it for un batazo grande over the head of the "right gardener."

"Un canonazo!" yelled the television announcer as Lee's "cannon shot" cleared the wall for a home run and he rounded the "cushions."

At least that's the version heard by Latino baseball fans watching or listening south of the border, across the Caribbean and throughout Hispanic neighborhoods in the U.S. as the Americans beat the Mexicans 2-0 in the World Baseball Classic tournament Tuesday in Arizona.


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