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April 23, 2010

Car bombs kill 50 in Baghdad

At least 50 dead in Baghdad attacks - Yahoo! News We don't regularly post all the bad news from Iraq and Afghanistan. Maybe we should. Every day I see more stories of bombings and murders and explosive devices. It all starts to run together. But here's the thing: the media has by and large written off Iraq as a done deal. The war is over, it's their problem now. When clearly the war *isn't* over. Dozens of civilians are being murdered every day in a war that we started.
BAGHDAD (AFP) – At least 50 people were killed in a series of car bombings on Friday near Shiite mosques and markets in Baghdad, an interior ministry official told AFP. Two car bombs in the impoverished district of Sadr City, one close to a political office of Shiite radical leader Moqtada al-Sadr and another at a market, killed 39 people and wounded 56, the official said. Three other car bombs at mosques in the Iraqi capital and an improvised explosive device killed 11 other people and wounded 50, he added.

Pentagon disinvites muslim-hating evangelist from Prayer Day event

Think Progress -- Pentagon Disinvites Anti-Muslim Evangelist From Prayer Day Event, Palin Calls It A ‘Sad Day’
Earlier this year, the Pentagon announced that it invited controversial evangelist Franklin Graham — who has called Islam a “wicked and evil religion” — to speak at its National Day of Prayer event. In the past week, groups like the Military Religious Freedom Foundation have been criticizing the Pentagon for inviting Graham and have called on the military to rescind its invitation. During an appearance on Fox and Friends yesterday morning, Graham reiterated his hateful beliefs, saying that he was speaking out “for those enslaved under Islam.” Later that day, the Army announced that it had finally decided to rescind its invitation to Graham over his remarks about the Islamic faith . . .

Republicans issue sexist newsletter, immediately apologize

County GOP: Get Democratic Rep. Betty Sutton Out Of The House -- And 'Back In The Kitchen' | TPMDC
A recent newsletter from the Republican Party in Medina County, Ohio, flagged by EMILY's List, contains a specific attack on Democratic Rep. Betty Sutton: "Let's take Betty Sutton out of the House and put her back in the kitchen." County GOP chairman Bill Heck told TPMDC that the newsletter was "an attention-getter" in terms of its political rhetoric. "I'm not sure that it was intended -- in fact I'm positive that it was not in intended to be sexist," said Heck. "In fact, it was speaking to the people of that district, and not intended to be a sexist comment." "I mean, I have a wife that was elected twice to county office, and once was a judge. I've got two daughters," Heck added. "It was not authored by me, but it was published by the Republican Party of Medina County. We are just trying to get the attention of the voters. It is rhetoric that I think is very common in all elections, of sending people somewhere -- either to the House or back from the House. And we certainly apologize for any offense that anyone would take from this."

April 22, 2010

New program tries to stop the recently unemployed from becoming homeless

Handing Out Money to Stave Off Homelessness - NYTimes.com
Faced with eviction, he was staring last month at the imminent prospect of joining the teeming ranks of the homeless. His last hope was a new $1.5 billion federal program aimed at preventing that fate. Days after Mr. Moore applied, a check for $775 was on its way to his landlord, enabling him to stay — at least for now. Much like the Great Depression, when millions of previously working people came to rely on a new social safety net for their sustenance, a swelling group of formerly middle-class Americans like Mr. Moore, 30, is seeking government aid for the first time. Without help, say economists, many are at risk of slipping permanently into poverty, even as economic conditions improve. . . . The severity of the situation prompted the Obama administration to create the Homelessness Prevention and Rapid Re-Housing program within the $787 billion economic stimulus package. The program rests on the assumption that intervention is the best course because once people become homeless, the odds and costs of regaining their lives escalate sharply. “This allows us to reorient a system that is focused on fixing a problem after it happens to preventing the problem,” said Shaun Donovan, the secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development, which oversees the program. “This is the single most important thing the federal government has ever done on family homelessness. It’s a transformative tool.”

April 20, 2010

Israeli defense minister calls for an end to occupation

Israeli defense minister says occupation must end
Israel must recognize that the world will not put up with decades more of Israeli rule over the Palestinian people, the country's defense minister said in unusually frank remarks Monday. Ehud Barak's comments came against the backdrop of severe friction between the U.S. and Israel's hawkish government over an impasse in peacemaking. Last week, President Barack Obama issued a surprisingly pessimistic assessment of peacemaking prospects, saying the U.S. couldn't force its will on Israelis and Palestinians if they weren't interested in making the compromises necessary to end their decades-old conflict.