S/SW blog philosophy -

I credit favorite writers and public opinion makers.

A lifelong Democrat, my comments on Congress, the judiciary and the presidency are regular features.

My observations and commentary are on people and events in politics that affect the USA or the rest of the world, and stand for the interests of peace, security and justice.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Updates: Hunger, Katrina, Patriot Act, Iraq election

Issues linger on the front pages of the newspers nd as the leads on TV newscasts. And even after moving to a lesser priority, stories sometimes linger in my mind, causing me to "follow" them on a regular basis--sometimes for years. In other words, they "bug" me.

Today's post is follow up to news items that have been bugging me for a while.

This is a link to my Thanksgiving story on Hunger: 11/23/05. This is one of those issues that I have been following for about 15 years. I worked at a homeless shelter for a time. It was always amazing and heart-warming to see shelter residents share their limited food with other residents they perceived to be hungrier than they were.
These are other hunger facts and figures from a World Hunger and Poverty site.

Over 9 million people die worldwide each year because of hunger and
malnutrition. 5 million are children. Approximately 1.2 billion people
suffer from hunger (deficiency of calories and protein); Some 2 to 3.5
billion people have micronutrient deficiency (deficiency of vitamins and
minerals); Yet, some 1.2 billion suffer from obesity (excess of fats and
salt, often accompanied by deficiency of vitamins and minerals)

This is the story that took the headlines starting in late August of this year. Hurricane"Katrina" came to my section of the country in a big blow. This is a link to a recent post focused on the continuing stress caused by the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina: 12/8/05. The courts recently ruled that FEMA must pay for hotel rooms for an additional month. Both the House and Senate are holding hearings, some of which are particularly contentious.

This week's story reported on what has been done so far to help for Katrina victims. Quoting from a Reuters story:

Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco on Wednesday acknowledged problems in the
state's response to Hurricane Katrina but said lives were saved and the state
did the best it could with the resources it had. . . President George W. Bush on Monday said he was appalled by the U.S. government's response to Katrina and acknowledged his own responsibility for the shortcomings. "I mean, to the extent that the federal government was ineffective, I'm responsible. And I understand that," he told NBC Nightly News in an interview.
This is a link to a post about the proposed extension of the USA Patriot Act: 12/9/05. Because of the terrorist attacks of 9/11/01, laws were changed in an effort to, according to the law-makers, make us safer. Because the law was passed rather hastily, legislators dedicated to protecting civil liberties attached sunset provisions to a number of the more controversial provisions of the law. This is what the current debates are about. To me, fighting for the protection of civil liberties linked to laws making it easier to assure security, is a very big deal.
The House has voted to extend the Act; now the Republicans in the Senate are in a battle to sustain it also.
Quoting this USA Today article about risks to passage of the USA Patriot Act,

Senate Republican leaders fought Wednesday to save the USA Patriot Act renewal
from sinking under the weight of opposition from a bipartisan group that says the measure would give the FBI a dangerous amount of power. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., predicted that the legislation would survive a filibuster threat and pass before more than a dozen of the 2001 law's provisions expire Dec. 31.

Today is a big deal for the Middle East, another election in Iraq. A few days ago I wrote a lengthy post exploring this election of a permanent parliament for Iraq: 12/13/05. There are reports of a high voting turnout, including the previously reluctant Sunnis. Quoting from a Yahoo! News story from the AP which reports that Iraqis voted despite dangers .

BAGHDAD, Iraq - Iraqis voted Thursday in one of the largest and freest elections
in the Arab world, with strong turnout reported in Sunni areas and even a shortage 0f ballots in some precincts. Several explosions rocked Baghdad throughout the day, but the level of violence was low. The heavy participation in the parliamentary voting by the Sunnis, who had shunned balloting last January, bolstered U.S. hopes of calming the insurgency enough to begin withdrawing its troops next year. But much depends on whether the sides, after the votes are counted, can form a government to reconcile Iraq's various communities, or merely fan the current tensions. The large turnout forced the Iraqi election commission to extend voting for one hour, until 6 p.m. (10 a.m. EST) as long lines were reported in some precincts, said commission official Munthur Abdelamir. Results will be announced within two weeks.

There seems to be the distinct possibility of a split between religious and secular leaning voters, according to a recent story in the New York Times. This means that it may take weeks or months for the leaders to sort themselves out. So the Iraq story is one that will continue to "bug" me until the outcome is final, at least for the next four years.


1 comment:

Subcomandante Bob said...

The Iraq elections have forced Bush to develop a new Iraq strategy.

National Nitwit has the latest, guaranteed at least 50% truthful.