FUBAR

The issue here is black and white

I saw two football games this weekend, one live and one on TV, that each reminded me of what a complex issue affirmative action always is.

The TV game featured the San Diego Chargers, and I was shocked to learn that San Diego’s new coach is Norv Turner. Turner has compiled a poor record in a decade-long stint as an NFL head coach, but he keeps getting hired for some incomprehensible reason (San Diego is his third head coaching position).

A big-bucks divorce case

The divorce case titled Scaife v. Scaife has wound its way through the courts under a blanket of secrecy as both sides struggle over a storied Pittsburgh fortune surpassing $1.4 billion and a temporary monthly alimony payment bigger than the life savings of most people.

Right-wingers sued by one of their own

Larry Klayman, once a hero of conservatives for persistently taking Bill Clinton to court, sued former aides and financial backers of President Bush on Monday for using the name “Freedom’s Watch” to mount a multimillion-dollar campaign in support of the war in Iraq.

Iraq tells Blackwater to get out

The Iraqi government announced Monday it was ordering Blackwater USA, the security firm that protects U.S. diplomats, to leave the country after what it said was the fatal shooting of eight Iraqi civilians following a car bomb attack against a State Department convoy.

The order by the Interior Ministry, if carried out, would deal a severe blow to U.S. government operations in Iraq by stripping diplomats, engineers, reconstruction officials and others of their security protection.

A lost year that cost us dearly

Army Gen. David Petraeus’ report on Iraq, having been leaked to the press for days before his appearance on Capitol Hill, contained no surprises. The surge’s several tactical successes in the Sunni regions are disconnected from any strategic progress in either strengthening the central government or stemming the opportunistic meddling by neighbors. Iraq is slowly separating into its three constituent parts (Kurdish, Shia and Sunni), with Baghdad becoming increasingly irrelevant.

Protestors demand end to Iraq war

Thousands of angry protestors including the families of dead US soldiers marched in Washington Saturday demanding an end to the war in Iraq, the return of US troops, and the impeachment of President George W. Bush.

A crowd of protesters some 4,000 to 6,000 strong gathered outside the White House before marching under a clear sky to the US Capitol building. Many waved placards that read “Support our troops, stop the war,” and “Impeach Bush.”

At the CIA, everything old is new again

The CIA Friday named as head of its espionage service a former senior official who quit three years ago amid a staff rebellion against the agency’s former director.

CIA director Michael Hayden announced the appointment of Michael Sulick as head of the National Clandestine Service, hailing him as a “proven leader who understands our agency and the intelligence community.”

Sulick was associate deputy director for operations when he resigned in August 2004 after a clash with then-director Porter Goss’s chief of staff over the treatment of another agency employee.

Troops will stay in Iraq for years

The US military will be tied down in Iraq with 100,000 troops at least through the presidency of George W. Bush, and a modest size residual force will be there for years to come.

And that is a best-case scenario, as articulated by US Defense Secretary Robert Gates on Friday after Bush announced plans for more modest troop cuts by mid-July.

“One of the sad aspects of war is there is no script,” Gates told reporters. “That history hasn’t been written yet. And the enemy has a vote.”

bin Laden’s undeserved bully pulpit

For the life of me, I can’t understand the preoccupation of the American media — from TV to newspapers to the free-lance pseudo-journalists of the Internet — with the periodic ranting of Osama bin Laden.

More disconcerting is the determination to disseminate his twisted messages as though he were a foe with legitimate aims rather than the vicious thug he is. Is it the same fascination one gets from watching a hideously ugly, menacing spider?

Maxing out the national credit card

Once again, for the fifth time since President Bush took office, it’s time to raise the limit on the national debt, and once again Congress is letting it go until the last minute.

Fortunately, the Senate Finance Committee this week approved by voice vote an $850 billion increase in the government’s ability to borrow, bringing the new debt limit to $9.82 trillion.