December 31, 2004

from Tom Tomorrow:
Sound of one hand slapping forehead.
A Rush Limbaugh caller wants to know where all the foreign aid from other countries for America was during the Florida hurricanes.

Mark C. lays it out: To spell it out so that even Rush's most drug addled listeners can understand, even the poorest among us tend to make several times the average per capita income in the countries hit by the quake and tsunami. And it is tragic that some people lost their lives and their homes in the Florida hurricanes. Meanwhile at least 120,000 people were killed in Asia, and the extent of the damage will make it difficult for aid to reach those in need. more.....

Iraq: Numbers are not good

The U.S. military suffered at least 348 deaths in Iraq over the final four months of the year, more than in any other similar period since the invasion in March 2003.
The number of wounded surpassed 10,000, with more than a quarter injured in the last four months as direct combat, roadside bombs and suicide attacks escalated. When President Bush declared May 1, 2003, that major combat operations were over, the number wounded stood at just 542.
The number of attacks on U.S. and allied troops grew from an estimated 1,400 attacks in September to 1,600 in October and 1,950 in November. A year earlier, the attacks numbered 649 in September, 896 in October and 864 in November.

December 30, 2004

From the New York Times:
Are We Stingy? Yes
The American aid figure for the current disaster is now $35 million, and we applaud Mr. Bush's turnaround. But $35 million remains a miserly drop in the bucket, and is in keeping with the pitiful amount of the United States budget that we allocate for nonmilitary foreign aid. According to a poll, most Americans believe the United States spends 24 percent of its budget on aid to poor countries; it actually spends well under a quarter of 1 percent.


Lots of dollars $$$$$$$$$ are needed. List of aid agencies


What's $35 million?

The amount it takes to fix up one park in Pittsburgh.

It's exactly one new school in Montclair, New Jersey.

It's what Dick Cheney put in his own back pocket by ditching his Halliburton stock.

And it's one four-thousandth of what the U.S. has spent invading and occupying Iraq.

December 29, 2004

Urge President Bush to Increase Tsunami Aid


Aid Grows amid Bush's absence
The Bush administration more than doubled its financial commitment yesterday to provide relief to nations suffering from the Indian Ocean tsunami, amid complaints that the vacationing President Bush has been insensitive to a humanitarian catastrophe of epic proportions.

Some foreign policy specialists said Bush's actions and words both communicated a lack of urgency about an event that will loom as large in the collective memories of several countries as the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks do in the United States. "When that many human beings die -- at the hands of terrorists or nature -- you've got to show that this matters to you, that you care," said Leslie H. Gelb, president emeritus of the Council on Foreign Relations.

There was an international outpouring of support after the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, and even some administration officials familiar with relief efforts said they were surprised that Bush had not appeared personally to comment on the tsunami tragedy. "It's kind of freaky," a senior career official said.

December 28, 2004

The tsunami death toll has reached over 40,000, and is now expected to be over 50,000. A third of the dead are said to be children. Over a half million people are effected. more....

Lots of dollars $$$$$$$$$ are needed. List of aid agencies


Ohio Official Refuses Interview Over Vote
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell has requested a protective order to prevent him from being interviewed as part of an unusual court challenge of the presidential vote.

Blackwell, in a court filing, says he's not required to be interviewed by lawyers as a high-ranking public official, and accused the voters challenging the results of "frivolous conduct" and abusive and unnecessary requests of elections officials around the state.

Citing fraud, 37 people who voted for president Nov. 2 have challenged the election results with the Ohio Supreme Court. The voters refer to irregularities including long lines, a shortage of voting machines in minority precincts and problems with computer equipment.

December 27, 2004

Today, we are concerned for our friend Pat Malone in Malaysia. The news from that part of the world is devastating, with reports of 21,000 dead in nine countries. Officials expect those numbers to increase. Our hearts go out to the freinds and families of all of you who have lost loved ones in this natural disaster.

December 26, 2004

The Democrats may be on the verge of blowing it again. There is a movement in the party to elect a chairman of the Democratic Party who supports an anti abortion position.


Democratic Leadership Rethinking Abortion
WASHINGTON After long defining itself as an undisputed defender of abortion rights, the Democratic Party is suddenly locked in an internal struggle over whether to redefine its position to appeal to a broader array of voters.

The fight is a central theme of the contest to head the Democratic National Committee, particularly between two leading candidates: former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean, who supports abortion rights, and former Indiana Rep. Tim Roemer, an abortion foe who argues that the party cannot rebound from its losses in the November election unless it shows more tolerance on one of society's most emotional conflicts.

Roemer is running with the encouragement of the party's two highest-ranking members of Congress, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of San Francisco and incoming Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid of Nevada. Dean, a former presidential candidate, is popular with the party's liberal wing.

December 25, 2004

From Hope at Midnight by Rebecca Solnit:
The Wobblies used to say, "Don't mourn, organize!" Do both. The election was deeply depressing, and I'm not arguing against being depressed. I'm just arguing against giving up. And for broadening the arena of evidence under consideration, since the world is larger than the United States and mostly in defiance of it, not to mention utterly unpredictable.

And besides which, if you give up, you'll hate yourself in the morning. If you act, you may or may not have the impact you intend, but you know what the consequences of passivity are. Insurrection is the honorable way to go, and you can be a small victory just by being in public, in touch, and outspoken -- one person who hasn't been conquered. Don't do the Administration the favor of conquering yourself.


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No War in Iraq march.
San Francisco, Ca., January 18, 2003
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