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Blowback Quite the horrific run of terror-related bombings in recent days. In Algeria, a group that claims affiliation with Al-Qaeda heralded their responsibility for a car bombing. The estimates on the dead range from 25-60, with at least 10 of … Read More

By / December 13, 2007

Blowback Quite the horrific run of terror-related bombings in recent days. In Algeria, a group that claims affiliation with Al-Qaeda heralded their responsibility for a car bombing. The estimates on the dead range from 25-60, with at least 10 of the victims being UN employees. Brig Gen Francois Hajj, a critic of Syrian interference in Lebanon, was murdered in a car bombing yesterday. He was a potential successor to Gen. Michel Suleiman who may soon become President of Lebanon. Finally, in Basra (the territory occupied by the British in Iraq), at least 40 people were murdered by coordinated car bombings. Blowback II I must be quite the soulless libertine, but why should it matter if Senator Obama snorted blow or smoked weed when he was young? Really, does this matter? Do we still pretend that drug use disqualifies one from being a good and effective leader? The question that seems most relevant to this story, though, is how this story relates to whether Senator Clinton’s campaign is desperate to go negative in order to solidify leads against Obama. Are they bringing the drug issue up because that’s the only thing they have left to use, or do they have some drug-related story against Obama that could be genuinely detrimental (and are testing how drop the story for maximum effect)? It’s That Economy, Stupid. The economic problems in the US continue to provide a very ambiguous picture of the current condition of the domestic economy. After last week’s announcement of freezes in rates for specific types of ARMs, the Fed lowered the federal funds and discount rates by 25 basis points each. But the market expected the cuts to be higher (at least 50 points for the discount) and reacted with a large sell-off. Now central banks in Europe are trying to inject more liquidity into markets in order to alleviate anxiety over whether business will have access to credit. Alan Greenspan tells investors to suck it up. Jim Cramer explains and bitches simultaneously. And amid this turmoil, Bank of America is now projecting that it will write down more than $3billion in fourth quarter losses due to increased defaulting on debt in the subprime mortgage sector.

GOP Debate The last GOP debate was inflicted upon the candidates, potential Iowa caucus voters, and “viewers like me” yesterday by Iowa public television and The Des Moines Register. The completely useless Carolyn Washburn, with the demeanor of a bitter third-grade teacher, adopted a brusque tone and scolded candidates for over an hour until Fred (he’s-still-running?!) Thompson revolted and refused to raise his hand in one of those inane head-count questions. Inexplicably, Alan Keyes was invited (though on the Dem side, both Dennis Kucinich and Mike Gravel have been excluded from participation) and continued his crusade to end legal medical abortions by publicly performing abortions on discourse, logic, and common sense. Huckabee's Profile Now that Awwwwww-Shucks Huckabee, former governor of Arkansas, has established credible polling numbers for a second week in a row, the media is actually covering what he says and finding out that a lot of it doesn’t make sense. In related news, perhaps a good insight into the Governor’s more systematic attempts at articulating his thoughts and opinions, his sermons, are being withheld from public distribution. It’s Better to Apologize than to Ask Permission CIA to Congress: our bad! The consequences for the Agency, however, may be punitive.While terrorist networks won’t actually have hard photographic evidence of US brutality to recruit new membership, Congress, scorned and ignored, can use moral equivocation and their imaginations to conjure up any images they like to describe what might have occurred on those tapes. Newsweek hosts an essay that will get those creative juices flowing. And while we’re at it, a challenging essay over at The New Republic about potential waterboardees.

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