FUBAR

U.S. soldiers kill Iraqi civilians

The U.S. military said Monday that it accidentally killed nine Iraqi civilians during an operation targeting al-Qaida in Iraq south of Baghdad.

The civilians were killed Saturday near Iskandariyah, 30 miles south of the Iraqi capital, U.S. Navy Lt. Patrick Evans told The Associated Press. Three more civilians were wounded and taken to U.S. military hospitals nearby, he said.

The incident and the events surrounding it are under investigation, Evans said.

No free speech for Marines

The city council of Berkeley, Calif., where the Free Speech Movement was born, has decided that some people deserve more free speech than others and the U.S. Marines don’t deserve any at all.

For about a year, the Marines have had a recruiting station in Berkeley and the council wants it gone, voting 6-3 to declare that it “is not welcome in the city, and if recruiters choose to stay, they do so as uninvited and unwelcome intruders.”

‘The sun is about to shine at Guantánamo’

A federal court has, once again, slapped down the Bush Administration over its military torture chamber at Guantanamo Bay Cuba.

In a landmark ruling Friday, a federal appeals court ordered the Bush Administration to turn over virtually all its information on detainees at the prison where thousands have been held in cognito and without the due process accorded prisoners under our justice system.

The decision is another stunning defeat of the Bush Administration’s policies of ignoring the basic rights of the Constitution and the rights of those accused of crimes.

The tax man is always waiting

Welcome home.

Whenever I see those words scrawled across the banners draped like bunting across highway overpasses for returning servicemen and women these days, I have to smile.

I smile because they make me think of my father when he was a young man, 31, coming back to Rhode Island after nearly four years in the Navy.

An end to affirmative action?

Voters in five states will have a chance this fall to vote on banning racial preferences in state college admissions, contracting and employment. Ward Connerly, a businessman and former regent of the University of California system who spearheaded similar initiatives in California, Michigan and Washington state, is leading anti-affirmative-action campaigns in Arizona, Colorado, Missouri, Nebraska and Oklahoma.

Hi, I’m Betsy and I’m an email-a-holic

I’ve finally given up my BlackBerry, or rather my “CrackBerry.”

Actually, in my case I owned a Treo, but the point is the same: I had become addicted to e-mail anywhere and anytime. I had to let go.

It’s been many weeks now and I’m doing, well, okay. I wasn’t sure that would be the case, and because I was afraid of backsliding, I decided not to be open about the issue until I had some traction under me.

The cost keeps going up

The Senate is set to begin voting on dueling economic aid proposals, as senators rush to add jobless benefits and tax rebates for high earners, the elderly, and disabled veterans to a House-passed package.

Senate Democrats and some Republicans are teaming up to tack $32 billion onto the House measure with a bill that would send rebates of $500-$1,000 to all but the richest taxpayers. Families also would get $300 for each child. Senators could begin voting as early as Thursday in hopes of completing the package by week’s end.

The rush to really screw things up

It’s become a ritual: The economy grows sluggish and politicians rush to “do something” about it. What they do almost never has a beneficial economic impact, as any reputable economist will tell you.

No applause, please

One of the more curious habits of humankind — one taken for granted and seldom commented upon — is the giving of a round of applause as a sign of enthusiasm. We the people can’t just sit still and glow when we hear something we like: We have to bang our paws together and make a clapping sound.

Torture? What’s that?

Attorney General Michael Mukasey refused Wednesday to define waterboarding as illegal torture, even while admitting that if he underwent the interrogation technique that he would “feel” it is torture.

Fending off pressure in a Senate Justice Committee hearing to categorically call waterboarding, which simulates drowning, as torture under US law, the top US legal official suggested that under certain conditions it could be legal, and said that learned people could disagree on the issue.