IraqSlogger: Exposed: Sadr’s Ramblings, Anxieties
Background: The young cleric who rose to power from anonymity following the American overthrow of Saddam has basked in the glory of his father’s name. Muhamad Sadiq al Sadr was one of Iraq’s most important clerics who was assassinated in 1999 and was called the Second Martyr. Sadr represented the poor and oppressed Shia underclass that had remained in Iraq, and he built around him a vast following and a militia, the Mahdi Army, which now dominates the Iraqi Police and much of the Iraqi Army as well as various ministries and Shia neighborhoods.
But evidence on the ground suggests Muqtada al Sadr is merely a figurehead for an army with no real leadership or hierarchy, which acts locally. Sadr has also clashed with many deputies, firing close allies.
In a video of an internal debate among his men that was released without his approval, a different Sadr is seen, and it is clear how little control he has over his men and how jealously he guards his tenuous power.
Speaking in poor Arabic, all slang, Sadr reveals his jealousy and insecurity as well, criticizing a deputy for praising Abdul Aziz al Hakim, the leader of the rival Shia Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq.
Say Yes to Mess « Librarian’s place
An anti-anticlutter movement is afoot, one that says yes to mess and urges you to embrace your disorder. Studies are piling up that show that messy desks are the vivid signatures of people with creative, limber minds (who reap higher salaries than those with neat “office landscapes”) and that messy closet owners are probably better parents and nicer and cooler than their tidier counterparts. It’s a movement that confirms what you have known, deep down, all along: really neat people are not avatars of the good life; they are humorless and inflexible prigs, and have way too much time on their hands.
To a professional organizer brandishing colored files and stackable trays, cluttered horizontal surfaces are a horror; to cognitive psychologists like Jay Brand, who works in the Ideation Group of Haworth Inc., the huge office furniture company, their peaks and valleys glow with intellectual intent and showcase a mind whirring away: sorting, linking, producing. (By extension, a clean desk can be seen as a dormant area, an indication that no thought or work is being undertaken.)
His studies and others, like a survey conducted last year by Ajilon Professional Staffing, in Saddle Brook, N.J., which linked messy desks to higher salaries (and neat ones to salaries under $35,000), answer Einstein’s oft-quoted remark, “If a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind, of what, then, is an empty desk?”
He’s Only Fifth Worst – washingtonpost.com
It’s unfair to claim that George W. Bush is the worst president of all time. He’s merely the fifth worst. In the White House Hall of Shame, Bush comes behind four other Oval Officers whose policies were even more disastrous: James Buchanan (in picture), Andrew Johnson, Richard M. Nixon and James Madison.
What makes a president horribly, immortally bad? Poor luck is not enough. Some of the greatest presidents, such as Abraham Lincoln and Franklin D. Roosevelt, have inherited crises and risen to the occasion. The damage must be largely self-inflicted. And there’s another test: The damage to the nation must be substantial. Minor blunders and petty crimes do not land a president in the rogues’ gallery.
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PSL detectives resign over racist remarks
PORT ST. LUCIE — The special investigations unit that busted 65 marijuana grow houses earlier this year was all but gone today after three detectives resigned and two were suspended for playing racist and vulgar phrases through their department computers.
Using an online program that repeats words aloud, three of the five Port St. Lucie police detectives typed in racial slurs such as “tar baby,” “yard ape” and “spearchucker.”
The internal affairs report says the five men spent nearly their entire work days Dec. 6 and 7 on a Web site called Monk-e-mail, which is part of CareerBuilder.com. The site has an option called “text to speech” which lets users type in messages that a monkey repeats aloud.
Explanation: In the shadow of Saturn, unexpected wonders appear. The robotic Cassini spacecraft now orbiting Saturn recently drifted in giant planet’s shadow for about 12 hours and looked back toward the eclipsed Sun. Cassini saw a view unlike any other. First, the night side of Saturn is seen to be partly lit by light reflected from its own majestic ring system. Next, the rings themselves appear dark when silhouetted against Saturn, but quite bright when viewed away from Saturn and slightly scattering sunlight, in the above exaggerated color image. Saturn’s rings light up so much that new rings were discovered, although they are hard to see in the above image. Visible in spectacular detail, however, is Saturn’s E ring, the ring created by the newly discovered ice-fountains of the moon Enceladus, and the outermost ring visible above. Far in the distance, visible on the image left just above the bright main rings, is the almost ignorable pale blue dot of Earth. Click on image to enlarge
Hoax Photo Gallery
When Daguerre’s discovery of the art of photography was announced to the world in 1839, many scientists, such as Dr. Bird of Philadelphia, found the concept so extraordinary that they insisted the announcement had to be a hoax. Photography was, of course, quite real, but it has proven to be a favorite tool of hoaxers since its invention. What follows are some notorious photographic fakes arranged in chronological order from the Civil War to the present.
Exotic Dancers Spray on Latex Coverings – Forbes.com
Under Alabama’s strict law regulating exotic dancers, any skin that would normally be covered by a modest bikini must be swathed in an opaque covering. But the law doesn’t specify what kind of material must be used, so, in the legal sense, a nylon swimsuit and spray-on latex are virtually the same.
“You can get it that matches your skin color,” said Patterson. “The only thing I hear from the girls is that it can be kind of irritating.
Obama Shapes an Agenda Beyond Iraq War
Senator Obama’s early opposition to the war in Iraq is the best known of his views, but voters taking his measure as a potential president will discover that he is a leader in securing stray weapons from the former Soviet Union, a key backer of American aid to the Congo, and that he would tend to support a missile strike on Iran if other methods fail to get Tehran to abandon its nuclear program.
Key advisers in Mr. Obama’s foreign policy orbit include Ms. Rice; a Pulitzer Prize-winning anti-genocide activist, Samantha Power; a national security adviser to Mr. Clinton, Anthony Lake, and Senator Obama’s foreign policy staffer, Mark Lippert. Continue reading “Obama Shapes an Agenda Beyond Iraq War”