When Bush gives his state of the union address in a few days, he will probably talk about Iraq and the "surge", but he probably won't mention Fallujah.
In 2004 Fallujah, Iraq, a city of 600,000 persons was attacked by the US after a handful of mercenaries from the firm Blackwater were killed while transporting refrigerator supplies to a military base. There was a news blackout about the siege, but there were reports of many civilian deaths and the use of illegal weapons by the US.
Now,three years later, the situation in Fallujah is still bleak. A correspondent for the Independent entered the city and reported for the paper. He must be a long term resident, because the city is still under siege. There are 27 checkpoints along the road to Fallujah making it the most difficult city to enter in the world.
What does one find when they arrive?
Its streets, with walls pock-marked with bullets and buildings reduced to a heap of concrete slabs, still look as if the fighting had finished only a few weeks ago.
Besides the devastated buildings, is anything working? Are the utilities functional?
Others confirmed that Fallujah was getting one hour's electricity a day. Colonel Feisal said there was not much he could do about the water or electricity though he did promise a man that a fence of razor wire outside his restaurant would be removed.
But the radio station is working; the US made sure that it is.
"My name is Sarah and I am in psychological operations," said another US officer and proudly showed us around a newly established radio Fallujah.
And the city still has a hospital.
When I asked what the hospital lacked Dr Kamal said wearily: "Drugs, fuel, electricity, generators, a water treatment system, oxygen and medical equipment." It was difficult not to think that American assistance might have gone to the hospital rather than the business development centre.
Colonel Feisal said things were getting better but he was mobbed by black-clad women shouting that their children had not been treated.
"Every day 20 children die here," said one. "Seven in this very room."
The doctors said that they were tending their patients as best they could. "The Americans provide us with nothing," said one mother who was cradling a child. "They bring us only destruction."
Someone should superimpose a dollar ticker over the video of Bush's state of the union address that ticks off in real time the amount of money spent in iraq while Bush talks about his successes there and our faltering economy.
"The Diving Bell and the Butterfly," is nominated for an academy award for its direction. It's supposedly a true story about a French magazine editor who has a massive stroke which left his entire body paralyzed with the exception of one eye. His brain is intact, and he is able to communicate by blinking his eye. The title of the movie comes from his shell of a body (the diving bell) and his memory (the butterfly).
His speech therapist, who evidently has a lot of time, helps him write his autobiography by recording the pattern of his eye blinks. I probably won't watch this film, but I wonder how realistic it is. Can someone who has this massive of a stroke have normal brain function for language? I don't expect movies to be entirely accurate; after all, they are for entertainment. But this film is touted as being based on a true story. Any speech therapists or neurologists out there who have experience with these sorts of cases? Is this a story of hope or is this a story of a late 20th century Ouija board with the therapist directing the movements (and the story)? It's a wonderful story if it's true, but I think it would make a boring movie, even if the guy had a vivid imagination.
This is her 42nd surgery, making her 2nd only to "Catwoman", who has had 47. It's a preparation for Carnival, for a samba troupe with a Japanese theme. In 2000, tried she paraded partly nude with the Brazilian flag painted on her body.
Jerome Kerviel lost billions for Societe Generale in France, compounding the market mess that was already in the works last week. Sarko et al questioned whether a single trader could have manag such large sums. Some suggested Societe Generale might have made Jerome a scapegoat losses from the subprime crisis. The bank says the scale of damage amplified by bad timing of the discovery — right before the worst day in world markets since Sept. 11, 2001.
Kerviel lost his Facebook friends and eventually his listing, but now there are at least dozens of Facebook groups dedicated to him, including a Fan Club with hundreds of members and a number of fake profiles, placing him everywhere from Paris to the Dominican Republic.
I just joined "Jerome Kerviel should be awarded the Nobel Prize in Economics"
Common Interest - Current Events
Jerome Kerviel, 31, has been named as the Societe Generale rogue trader who allegedly lost the bank €4.9bn in the biggest banking fraud in history. For this accomplishment, he should be awarded The Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel 2008.
There is also Rogue French Banker which has advertisements for stock trading.
(Photo, D. Grieser)
Obama along with two staffers (including his body guy, Reggie Love, who used to play for Duke University and 6′8″ trip director, Marvin Nicholson) played a little basketball with some of Obama’s Secret Service detail. Obama’s team won the best of three contest, two games to one.
99% of precincts reporting (SC)
Barack Obama 295,091 54%
Hillary Clinton 141,128 27%
John Edwards 93,552 19%
Dennis Kucinich 551 0%
Endorsed by Caroline Kennedy & Seattle Times, Stallone endorsed by McCain
What does it all mean? (Times endorsed Lieberman in 2004)
Here is a Russian report about reliability of American voting machines:
Anonymous notes that Scientology has also faced criticism over the cost required to progress through its "auditing" system, with the total bill for completing the course estimated at $365,000 - $380,000. Monsters & Critics
a) It becomes legalized and cost as much as tobacco does, i.e., instead of retailing for just under the price of gold per ounce, or upwards of $5K a pound, where the price of tobacco is closer to $1 an ounce, or $20 a pound
b) A machine like this is in every Pharmacy and Cancer Ward in the USA
That's right, men are now seeking "pec" implants which enable them to project "power, strength, health, and virility."
"It's such a confidence booster," says one San Francisco massage therapist who got the implants two years ago as a 40th birthday gift to himself. "I walk a little taller now. And of course you want to buy every tight white T-shirt. It's crazy!"