The Spectacle Blog

UN-relief for Tsunami Victims

By on 12.26.05 | 6:41PM

Seems like only yesterday when the UN's disaster relief chief was chastising America for being too stingy in our efforts to aid tsunami victims last January. Now we know why, thanks to the Financial Times.

According to a report in today's FT, the UN received about $1.1 billion. Of that, some $590 million has been spent. But it seems about a third of that expenditure, some $193 million, was absorbed by UN overhead. And if we weren't so stingy more could go for UN expense accounts and dinners at Delmonicos instead of for relief to disaster victims. Heartless of us, ain't it?

At least most of what we did send to Southeast Asia, including thirty-plus navy ships, tens of thousands of men and thousands of tons of food and water coulcn't be deposited in UN accounts. The UN: always there when they need us.

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MRC Wake-up Call

By on 12.26.05 | 10:24AM

How better to celebrate Boxing Day than with the Media Research Center annual awards for the year's worst reporting?  This is an hilarious -- and, unfortunately, entirely accurate -- summary of the year's worst media nonsense.  Take the time to read it all, and brace yourselves for the onsluaght in '06.  Hard to see how anyone will be able to top this year's worst: NBC's Brian Williams.  This is the money quote from an exchange he had in June with Andrea Mitchell:

Andrea Mitchell: "It is an iconic picture: American hostages, hands bound and blindfolded, being paraded outside the U.S./>/> embassy in Tehran/>/> by their captors. But has one of those student radicals now become Iran’s newly elected President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad?...Tonight, U.S. intelligence officials say that they will continue to study this, but may never have definitive proof of what the role was of Iran’s new president, Brian.

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Re: And Goodwill to Men

By on 12.24.05 | 4:46PM

Tonight is one of the many nights we should all be thankful for the freedoms we have as Americans, and remember those who are unable to be with their families because they are out defending ours.

And while we are being thankful and generous, so is our president. He's issued 11 presidential pardons. Among them are three moonshiners, a bank robber and a lawyer. Moonshiners, ok. Bank robber? Maybe. Lawyer? Now that's carrying the Christmas spirit a bit too far.

Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukah everyone.

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…And Goodwill To Men

By on 12.24.05 | 3:45PM

Mohammed at Iraq the Model surveys the latest developments vis-a-vis the post-election power struggle, and adds:

Christmas is here but this year Christians in Iraq decided to cancel all celebrations and parties they usually have in their social clubs and will limit the celebrations to ceremonies in churches for fear from terror attacks.
If you pray, take a moment and pray for peace in Iraq.

Merry Christmas to all…

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Tomorrow on MSNBC

By on 12.23.05 | 3:14PM

I'll be on tomorrow morning about 0815 talking about the NSA intelligence op, trying to show again that it really, no kidding, was legal. Preaching to the heathen, trying to do the Lord's work. Sigh.

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Today in Iraq

By on 12.23.05 | 10:59AM

Right now, there's a brigade-size Iraqi force doing a sweeping operation in the northwest. They planned it, organized it, and are executing it on their own. A US Marine company is along to mentor/monitor what they do. This is a very large independent Iraqi op. And it appears, from earliest reports, to be doing quite well. More as it becomes available.

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Looking Ahead

By on 12.23.05 | 9:46AM

A couple of things for folks to be thinking of as Congress retreats to the hills:

First, spending time on the House side with Republicans, there is a growing sense that regardless of where the courts come down on Rep. Tom DeLay, his days as a Majority Leader are probably toast. In speaking with one loyalist in the Republican Caucus earlier this week, the message was loud and clear: "We can't go into this election year with Tom running the show. He will become part of every story, good or bad, but the press will always portray him badly. Like it or not, Tom is a reflection on us, and we just can't have that."

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Call Forward?

By on 12.23.05 | 9:36AM

A few minutes ago, Lt. Gen. Jim Conway (operations boss for the Joint Chiefs) gave some new information on the troop reductions planned for Iraq. The Second Brigade of the Army's First Armored Division will be stationed, for 90 days or more, in Kuwait as a "call forward" force. In effect, this is a vote of confidence in Iraqi forces. We can move the 2nd of the 1st into Iraq quickly if it's needed, but by putting it outside Iraq we're telling the Iraqis we think they can handle that much more of the security in their own nation. Gen. Conway said that another brigade, this one from the 1st Infantry Division, will be held at home in Fort Riley, Kansas.

As of today, there are about 216,000 Iraqi troops trained and equipped, with 44 battalions that "own their ground." As Gen. Conway said, the trend lines are going in the right direction.

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Sharon’s Stroke Recovery

By on 12.23.05 | 8:49AM

Last night, co-hosting with John Batchelor on his ABC radio net show, we interviewed Aaron Klein who was reporting from Jerusalem. Apparently, the Israeli prime minister's recovery from last week's "minor" stroke isn't as rapid or thorough as reported elsewhere. Sharon is missing key meetings of his security team and has no succession plan. Israel has no constitution and -- unlike America -- no law on prime ministerial succession.

Can Sharon come back? Will Israeli policy toward the Palestinian election is up in the air. Can Hamas take control? Will the Israelis force another delay? All these things are up in the air while Sharon's status is in doubt.

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