Month: April 2007

Article: Rebuilt Iraq Projects Found Crumbling


From the April 29, 2007, New York Times:

Rebuilt Iraq Projects Found Crumbling

In a troubling sign for the American-financed rebuilding program in Iraq, inspectors for a federal oversight agency have found that in a sampling of eight projects that the United States had declared successes, seven were no longer operating as designed because of plumbing and electrical failures, lack of proper maintenance, apparent looting and expensive equipment that lay idle.

The United States has previously admitted, sometimes under pressure from federal inspectors, that some of its reconstruction projects have been abandoned, delayed or poorly constructed. But this is the first time inspectors have found that projects officially declared a success — in some cases, as little as six months before the latest inspections — were no longer working properly.


Article (Wolfie / World Bank): In How Many Languages Can You say, “Buh-bye”?


Bring on the resignation… Time to start the office pool… When’s it going to come? What is Bush going to say? “Great job, Wolfie?” How many medals will he get! PS: See the Wolfie YouTube video.

From the April 27, 2007, New York Times:

Wolfowitz Loses Ground in Fight for World Bank Post

WASHINGTON, April 26 — Paul D. Wolfowitz’s struggle to hold on to his job as World Bank president suffered a major setback on Thursday when more than 40 members of the organization’s anticorruption team, formed to promote transparent government and closely identified with Mr. Wolfowitz, declared that the controversy over his conduct was undermining their work.

Without directly calling for his resignation or removal, the team said that Mr. Wolfowitz and the bank’s board needed to take “clear and decisive actions to resolve this crisis,” which it said was undermining the bank’s “credibility and authority to engage” on the corruption issue.


Legal Policies in Bush’s Amerika


From the April 26, 2007, New York Times:

Court Asked to Limit Lawyers at Guantánamo

The Justice Department has asked a federal appeals court to impose tighter restrictions on the hundreds of lawyers who represent detainees at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, and the request has become a central issue in a new legal battle over the administration’s detention policies.

Saying that visits by civilian lawyers and attorney-client mail have caused “intractable problems and threats to security at Guantánamo,” a Justice Department filing proposes new limits on the lawyers’ contact with their clients and access to evidence in their cases that would replace more expansive rules that have governed them since they began visiting Guantánamo detainees in large numbers in 2004.


ETF News


State Street said Wednesday morning two new international ETFs, based on S&P/Citigroup Global Equity Indices, will begin trading Thursday April 26. SPDR S&P International Small Cap ETF includes companies with market caps under $2 billion domiciled in developed countries outside the U.S. It will trade under the ticker (GWX) and carries a 0.60% expense ratio. SPDR S&P World ex-US ETF includes more than 5,000 companies domiciled in developed countries outside the U.S. including Canada. It will trade under the ticker (GWL) and carries a 0.35% expense ratio.


Article: Army Ordered Soldiers To Lie


Soldier: Army ordered me not to tell truth about Tillman
Story Highlights• NEW: Soldier says his account of incident was altered after he wrote it
• NEW: Inspector general says investigators did not inspect computer
• Last soldier to see NFL hero alive says he was ordered not to divulge truth
• “The truth is always more heroic than the hype,” Jessica Lynch tells panel

WASHINGTON (CNN) — The last soldier to see Army Ranger Pat Tillman alive, Spc. Bryan O’Neal, told lawmakers that he was warned by superiors not to divulge — especially to the Tillman family — that a fellow soldier killed Tillman.


Article: Iraq Is the Ultimate Aphrodisiac


From the April 22, 2007, New York Times:

Op-Ed Columnist
Iraq Is the Ultimate Aphrodisiac

PRESIDENT BUSH has skipped the funerals of the troops he sent to Iraq. He took his sweet time to get to Katrina-devastated New Orleans. But last week he raced to Virginia Tech with an alacrity not seen since he hustled from Crawford to Washington to sign a bill interfering in Terri Schiavo’s end-of-life medical care. Mr. Bush assumes the role of mourner in chief on a selective basis, and, as usual with the decider, the decisive factor is politics. Let Walter Reed erupt in scandal, and he’ll take six weeks to show his face — and on a Friday at that, to hide the story in the Saturday papers. The heinous slaughter in Blacksburg, Va., by contrast, was a rare opportunity for him to ostentatiously feel the pain of families whose suffering cannot be blamed on the administration.


The Blackberry: Too Much of a “Good” Thing?


This is why I don’t have or want a Blackberry. And it’s why people around my age and older are lucky… because we didn’t have to be kids/teens in a world with Blackberries, or even a world with the Internet. Some of us never even had cable TV, let alone a video game console. What we had were bikes, fishing rods, hiking boots, camping gear and some other stuff we won’t mention. But the point is, or the question is, is it possible be too connected? So connected that your compulsive need to twitter and tweet and check your Blackberry every five minutes for fear of missing something important is, ironically, causing you to miss something important — life? I think it’s possible. And I think it’s happening. A lot! I realize there are legitimate uses for Blackberries and not everyone is addicted, I’m just raising the question. Discuss. Cheers!

PS: Before you fire off a Blackberry-typed nastygram, consider this: If my question / hypothesis raises your blood pressure and/or gives you an urge to defend yourself, that might be warning sign.

From the April 22, 2007, New York Times:

It Don’t Mean a Thing if You Ain’t Got That Ping

THE BlackBerry network went dark last week — cache-flow problems, apparently. Service stopped for a mere 12 hours, but to bereft users, 12 minutes was too long. Information feeds our lives, they protested, and the BlackBerry provides it. What if we miss the e-mail message that makes or breaks our happiness, or our bank account?