Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Other Items

Stephen Farrell's "Hopes for Vehicle Questioned After Iraq Bomb Blast" finds him lost in the gadgetry -- as though he were in the electronic section in Best Buy and not reporting on the death of a US service member. You sort of picture the New York Times using pull quotes in an upcoming catalogue. Around the mid-way point, where he's quoting Robert Gates' 'holiday message,' you may have to remind yourself that the reason the story was supposed to be written had to do with a very real death. Maybe he was auditioning to cover a Detroit auto show?

Reuters reports 1 student is dead and twenty-one wounded in a bombing on a school in Baquba. AP's Christopher Chester notes, "The target of the latest bombing was unclear: The school is next to the provincial governor's office and a municipal building in Baqouba, 35 miles northeast of Baghdad."

At Inside Iraq, a McClatchy Iraqi correspondent offers "you still have the chance:"

Simply an insurgents group attacked some police check points in two southern provinces. Those gunmen followed the instructions of a man who claimed that he is a deputy of a famous and main Islamic character especially for the Shiite Muslims, it's the character of Imam Mahdi which the Shiite believes that he will appear to save humanity. Many of the insurgents were killed and of course some of the policemen were killed also but this is not the point I want to talk about. My main point is a question which is (Who were killed? Weren't they Iraqi people?)
This question leads to others questions. One of the most is (why did those men followed this guy?) Excuse me if I ask the question and answer it but I think most of the readers would agree with me. I believe that those people joined this guy because they are unemployed, they need money to live and since they have no jobs and since the authorities (mainly the Iraqi government and the USA) failed in winning the simple people to their sides.
Before the elections of 2005, we heard and read thousands of promises about huge and great projects especially in the south of Iraq but after the election, all these promises evaporated. No one paid any attention to the safe cities and this thing gave the chance to the insurgents group to gain more people especially the poor simple people. One or two hundreds dollars a month is fortune for those simple people and here we are, we have now more violence and more blood shedding.

Charlie notes PNNOnline's "Congress Questions Spending by Two Veterans' Charities:"

A congressional investigation has uncovered questionable spending practices at two veterans' charities, including one group that paid retired Army Gen. Tommy Franks $100,000 to appear in its solicitation letters using money raised to help soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, the Washington Post reports.
During a contentious hearing last week, members of the House Committee on Government Oversight and Reform questioned Roger Chapin about his management of the two charities. According to the committee, one of the groups, Help Hospitalized Veterans, spent hundreds of thousands of dollars in donations that were intended to help wounded soldiers with personal expenses, including a $135,000 loan to executive director Mike Lynch for a divorce settlement; a $1 million loan to fundraising consultant Richard Viguerie, who already had been paid millions by the organization for fundraising campaigns; a $17,000 country club membership; and three airplane tickets to Hawaii. Chapin said he repaid the charity for the flights but called the golf club membership a "perk" for board members.

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