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.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Digesting today's news

I collect headlines. Yesterday I confessed to my foibles as an info collector. Being such a collector has its upside on the web. Reading the headlines online every day is essential and so very easy. But there is always too much information. Here is my "quick and dirty" news digest.

To get a quick news skim when I first went online this morning, I went to my primary collection homepage, MyWay. On their front page, I regularly keep track of certain news categories, such as national and world affairs, specifically the European Union and the Middle East, Congress, Medicine, and Science. Here is what is going on with several of the stories about which I have consistently blogged over time.

Over 1800 people died in a mudslide. There has been a terrible tragedy in the Phillippines. The news in recent years has often been about huge losses of life caused by natural disasters. Hurricane Katrina claimed over 1400 lives. The tsunami in the Indian Ocean killed over 275,000. And over 73,000 lost their lives in the earthquake centered in Pakistan and Kashmir. That is a total of 349,400+. The numbers are mind-numbing. It is approximately the size of the entire city of Falluja, Iraq, before the war. And a natural disaster has happened again. To quote from the AP story,
Rescue workers searched a sea of mud in vain Saturday for survivors of a landslide that killed up to 1,800 people. People fled nearby villages, heeding warnings that the disaster threatened to repeat itself. Two U.S. warships and 1,000 Marines steamed toward the disaster scene on Leyte island in the eastern Philippines. They were expected to arrive early Sunday. Eleven villages were evacuated, all in the area of what used to be Guinsaugon. The farming community was wiped out Friday when half a mountain came crashing down after two weeks of torrential rain.

Global warming does exist. The current administration, unfortunately, is willing to fire scientists who say so out loud. But it is true. Greenland's ice is more rapidly melting now than in the recent past. If the world's oceans continue to rise as expected, islands all around the world may submerge and seacoast cities will have parts that go underwater. CBS News reports,
Warmer temperatures during the past decade have sped up the march of Greenland's southern glaciers to the Atlantic Ocean, where the ice and water they spill contribute more to the global rise in sea levels than previously thought. Those
faster-moving glaciers now dump in a year twice as much ice into the Atlantic as they did in 1996, researchers said Thursday. The resulting icebergs, along with increased melting of Greenland's ice sheet, could account for nearly 17 percent of the estimated one-tenth of an inch annual rise in global sea levels, or twice what was previously believed, said Eric Rignot of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif.

Palestine is at a crossroads. President Mahmoud Abbas has asked Hamas to form a government, but he has stipulations. What will happen as the seeming impasse continues? Will the U.S. and the West behave stupidly and make things worse? Big questions. And what is Israel doing to make things worse or better? One of the best free elections in recent history has handed the world a real dilemma. To quote from this Associated Press article,

Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas on Saturday asked Hamas to form the next
Palestinian government, but demanded that the Islamic militants recognize existing peace deals and fall in line with his moderate policies, including negotiations with Israel. Hamas immediately rejected the demands, saying negotiations with Israel are "not on our agenda."
Congress may not give up on the domestic surveillance controversy. This is very good news, and is probably related to the fact that mid term elections will happen this year. Senate Intelligence Committee co-chairman, Senator Jay Rockefeller, continues to fight the good fight to get an investigation of the NSA program, along with other Democrats and a few courageous Republican senators. They could use our support. Quoting from the AP,
Bush has seen Republican congressional support for his eavesdropping program erode in the last two months, but Republican leaders have managed - for now - to
stave off full-scale investigations. White House officials originally said congressional debate could damage national security, and the bar for any legislative changes would be high. But a day after striking the agreement with Roberts to work on legislation and more briefings for his committee, the White House appeared more open to congressional debate.
"The president believes that he has the authority necessary," White House spokesman Trent Duffy said Friday. "But we're willing to work with the Congress if they feel that further codification of that is needed."
The House Intelligence Committee has also been working on a list of questions that it plans to have answered in writing or in hearings in the coming weeks. House Intelligence Chairman Peter Hoekstra, R-Mich., and other committee members have agreed to look at whether the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act needs modernizing, his spokesman Jamal Ware said Friday. Rep. Heather Wilson, R-N.M., who chairs a subcommittee that oversees the NSA, said she does not expect a committee vote to open an inquiry, but members were conducting a "workmanlike" review as part of their regular oversight.
Further reference: MyWay is still my favorite "homepage." I have safely used it for years. It is free, stable, flexible, and contains no advertising. It makes its revenue from the 4 search engines it promotes. It is rarely "down." It has some wonderful customizable features, including:
  • Many choices of beautiful skins
  • Multiple personalized pages
  • Your own animated logo
  • Good link bar, customized reminders, weather, news and features
  • Other choices are yours, according to the page's overview:
    My Search: Choose from Google, Yahoo!, Ask Jeeves and LookSmart as your My Way primary Search Provider. My Email - free account. Or- don't need another Web-based Email address but want to access your Hotmail account through My Way? Simply establish a primary Email account and all My Way Email links will take you directly to the sign in page for that account. My Chat - designate a primary Chat page, and we'll take you there. My Portfolio - Just create a primary Portfolio and all My Way Portfolio links will click through to the Web-based Portfolio that you have selected. My Calendar - Choose your primary calendar (My Way, Yahoo!, AOL or MSN) and we'll provide you with direct access from My Way Calendar links. My Groups - Establish a primary Groups provider and all My Way Groups links will take you directly to your Groups sign in page.
My "creative post" today at Southwest Blogger is titled "Clouds Could Carry the Day."

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