Joining the mean mom school

There are times when I tell my kids that they can’t have or do something that they tell me I’m “as mean as 200 moms!” That’s when I like to remind them I take their complaints as a compliment because I, of course, went to “Mean Mom School.”

I always review for them that I did incredibly well at Mean Mom School. In fact, there is only one mom who ever did better at Mean Mom School than I did, my friend (and theirs), Mrs. Carlson. She has five young kids, and they think she’s as mean as 300 moms.

Retreating into isolationism

Polls are indicating that many Americans are yearning for another retreat into isolationism.

The relentlessly grim news from Iraq, the antagonism abroad toward U.S. foreign policy, the stirrings of antipathy against free trade and the pull of delayed solutions to domestic problems are combining to make Americans feel fed up with being “over there.”

Unmasking phony heroes

The unmasking of a half-dozen phony heroes in recent months is spurring support for the creation of a national database that contains the names of those who have received the nation’s highest military honors.

As it stands now, there is an official list only of Medal of Honor awardees, but none for those who have earned the service crosses, Silver Stars, Purple Hearts or other top medals. That makes it difficult to uncover anyone who poses as a recipient by wearing medals one can purchase for a few bucks on the Internet.

Prosecutor quits over Gitmo debacle

The top Pentagon prosecutor in President George W. Bush’s troubled “war on terror” is leaving is post immediately. Sources say she is “fed up” with the administration’s continued attempts to ignore the law and the tenants of the Geneva Convention in his abuse of prisoners at the Guantanamo Bay
prison in Cuba.

Col. Morris D. Davis, a highly respected Air Force prosecutor, is leaving his position immediately.

Pentagon insiders say Davis’ abrupt departure is another example of the internal discord that Bush’s bungled war on terror has brought to the military.

Whitewashing the work of killers

Public relations giant Burson-Marsteller has vast experience steering companies through tough times. But there’s a limit to how much it can help Blackwater USA, a new client that’s been battered by negative publicity.

The State Department, which pays Blackwater hundreds of millions of dollars to protect U.S. diplomats in Iraq, has stringent rules barring the private security contractor from discussing with the media the details of its work, according to those familiar with the arrangement.

Blackwater goons murdered Iraqis

U.S. military reports from the scene of a shooting incident in Baghdad involving security contractor Blackwater indicates its guards opened fire without provocation and used excessive force, The Washington Post reported on Friday.

At least 11 Iraqis were killed in the September 16 incident, which has outraged Iraqis who see the firm as a private army which acts with impunity.

Citing a senior U.S. military official, the Post said the military reports appear to corroborate the Iraqi government’s contention that Blackwater was at fault.

Blackwater killed more than reported

Seventeen people were killed and 24 injured in the September 16 Baghdad shootout involving security teams from private firm Blackwater USA.

That death toll is significantly higher than the 10 originally reported in the incident which prompted intense criticism of Blackwater’s operations protecting American diplomats and other officials in Iraq, the New York Times reported Wednesday.

The border wars

Along the U.S.-Mexico border, congressional candidates who advocated enforcement-only — but not comprehensive — immigration reform found support dropping by more than 21 percent in precincts with significant Latino constituents, costing them the election.

That was the finding in a recent report, titled “Border Wars: The Impact of Immigration on the Latino Vote,” by Richard Nadler of the conservative Americas Majority Foundation. The study involved 145 precincts and 175,000 voters.

Blackwater boss defends his thugs

The boss of US security contractor Blackwater Tuesday denied his staff ran riot like “cowboys” and said they acted appropriately in a Baghdad shootout which left at least 10 Iraqis dead.

Company founder and chief executive Erik Prince, an ex-Navy SEAL who had previously shunned the limelight, warned lawmakers there had been a “rush to judgment” over the deadly September 16 shooting.

Prince, wearing a suit and close cropped hair, confronted hostile Democratic lawmakers determined to put his firm, which has reportedly scooped one billion dollars in US government contracts, in the dock.

More deception from the Pentagon

Domineering Donald Rumsfeld may be gone from the Pentagon, but his legacy lingers.

Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld was often compared to a predecessor, Robert McNamara, another strong personality with a habit of making up his mind in advance of events. As the Vietnam War unfolded in the 1960s, McNamara, an accountant and statistician, fixated on quantitative measures of progress. Attrition was the order of the day, enemy body counts and weapons captured the measure of progress.