Friday, March 30, 2007

No longer welcome...

King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia told Arab leaders at an Arab League meeting in Riyadh on Wednesday that the American occupation of Iraq was illegal and warned that unless Arab governments settled their differences, foreign powers like the United States would continue to dictate the region's politics.
My understanding is that King Abdullah is considered one of our best friends in the Middle East. He also has a special relationship with the Bush family. It's increasingly looking like we might not be welcome in that neighborhood for much longer. Well, we still have the Israelis.
(Photo: Hassan Ammar / AFP)

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Tony Snow is again battling cancer...

Just a couple of years after having surgery for colon cancer White House Press Secretary Tony Snow has learned that his cancer has spread to his liver. This news coming a week after we learned that Elizabeth Edwards is also battling a return of cancer.

Like Elizabeth Edwards, Tony Snow is also the parent of young children.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to the Snow and Edwards families. Their courage will serve as an inspiration to others.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Face-to-face meeting bridges N. Ireland's divide...

The two opposing parties whose conflict fueled decades of violence in Northern Ireland met face-to-face for the first time today and agreed to enter a power-sharing government on May 8.

The Guardian (UK) reports on the response of Tony Blair as follows:

"Tony Blair has described today's deal to restore Northern Ireland's power-sharing administration as the historic culmination of 10 years of work.

Mr Blair said the agreement between Ian Paisley and Gerry Adams was "a very important day for the people of Northern Ireland".

"In a sense, everything we have done over the last 10 years has been a preparation for this moment, because the people of Northern Ireland have spoken through the election," he added.
"They have said we want peace and power-sharing, and the political leadership has then come in behind that and said we will deliver what people want."

Mr Blair said today's deal would "mean ... people can come together, respecting each other's point of view and share power and make sure politics is only expressed through peaceful and democratic means".

"It will give the people of Northern Ireland the future they want and give heart to all of us who have wanted this process over the past few years," he said.

"Now, at last, we have a date certain for the devolution of power and a remarkable coming together of people who have, for very obvious reasons, been strongly opposed in the past."

Mr Blair - who helped bring about power-sharing early in his first term through the 1998 Good Friday agreement - is widely believed to be extremely keen to see a permanent deal reached before he leaves office this summer.

However, he refused to speculate as to what might happen, saying: "The important thing for the moment is to take what has happened now and to see it through, and that's what we will do."

Postscript: I consider these latest developments to be very good news. As recently as yesterday one person familiar with the situation in Northern Ireland had told me that the deal would fall through.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

"War on Terror"

I highly recommend this article by Zbigniew Brzeziski in today's Washington Post. Okay, what he has to say is simply common sense.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Sad News: Elizabeth Edwards has a recurrence of cancer...

John Edwards confirmed earlier today that his wife has a recurrence of cancer. He indicated that he'll continue his campaign for the White House. One can only imagine how difficult this will be.

Elizabeth Edwards is the most valuable asset that John Edwards has going for him. My understanding is that she tried to dissuade John from voting for the War Resolution four years ago.

Our thoughts are with the Edwards family as they confront this very serious crisis.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

A futile anti-war effort?

Photo shows anti-war activist Cindy Sheehan making a peace sign as she marches toward the Pentagon.
Saturday's protest marked the 40th anniversary of the historic 1967 march to the Pentagon.
Bush ignored the millions who marched in opposition to the invasion of Iraq four years ago...and he'll do the same with those who are now protesting the war. We're now into the fifth year of the Iraq War and there is no end in sight.
Maybe if something really bad happened (e.g. a bomb dropped in the Green Zone) it would provide the impetus to start bringing the troops home.
(Photo: Nicholas Kamm / AFP)

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Late winter storm...

St Patrick's Day arrived here on the North Shore with a wintry mix of snow, sleet and rain. Haven't ventured outside yet but driving conditions appear to be pretty bad.

Clean-up after the storm has already started and the roads should be passable by noon.

I'm looking forward to joining friends in Boston tomorrow morning for a traditional Irish brunch. The days of serious partying for St Patricks Day have long passed for this Irishman!!

Happy St Pats Day.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Flood-control pumps designed for failure...

Flood-control pumps put in place by the Army Corps of Engineers move water from New Orleans's 17th Street Canal to Lake Pontchartrain.
The Corps, rushing to meet President Bush's promise to protect New Orleans, installed defective pumps last year despite warnings from its own expert that the equipment would fail during a storm.
Nothing new in this story. Same old incompetence by the Bush Administration.
(Photo: Bill Haber / AP)

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Feds track down immigrants...

Photo shows Alexander Ayala - alone with his 7-month-old daughter, Keylyn Zuasana Ayala, after his wife, Jamileta, was detained by immigration authorities in the raid of the Michael Bianco factory - waiting for news at Our Lady of Guadalupe at St. James Church in New Bedford, Massachusetts.
I've been out of the country and am just catching up with this story. According to the local morning news in Boston various group are mobilizing in support of the children. I expect we'll hear more about this story over the coming days and weeks.
(Photo: Peter Pereira)

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Light Blogging this coming week...

Today I leave for a week-long visit to Ireland. Decided not to haul along my rather heavy laptop computer. I may post a couple of times if I have the opportunity.

Looking forward to a change in scenery!

Friday, March 02, 2007

President Bush visits New Orleans...

Today's Times-Picayune has this story about President Bush's visit to New Orleans yesterday.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Remembering our fallen heroes...

Photo shows nearly 3,000 wooden crosses honoring US troops killed in Iraq adorning a hillside memorial in Lafayette, California.

Rushed by President Bush's decision to reinforce Baghdad with thousands more US troops, some in Congress and outside the Army wonder whether the Army is cutting corners in preparing soldiers for combat.

The good news is that the Bush Administration has finally agreed to participate in a conference of Iraq's "neighbours." We can only hope this meeting will contribute to a lessening of the civil strife in that country.

Postscript: This photo helps communicate the number of Americans who have lost their lives in Iraq. Conservatives complain about how the MSM just focuses on the bad news from Iraq...but I see very little about the individuals are are loosing their lives every day of the week.

(Photo: Justin Sullivan / Getty Images)