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Today in the News

Just a few quick hits to bring to everyone's attention:

–  Iraq's civil war is spiralling further and further out of control.  Nice job, George.  Do you think you should have learned the difference between Shiites and Sunnis before sending our kids over there?  Steve Gilliard will have more for us in a little while here this morning:

Truck Bombing Kills at Least 56 in Baghdad
By QAIS MIZHER and JOHN O'NEIL

BAGHDAD, Dec. 12 – At least 56 people, most of them laborers looking for work, were killed today when a pickup truck packed with explosives was detonated in a crowded square in the city's center this morning, Iraqi officials and witnesses said. At least 220 more were wounded.

The blast took place in Tarayan Square, a market across the Tigris River from the government Green Zone that has become an informal hiring site – and the target of previous bombings. Most of the workers come from the city's eastern, predominantly Shiite side.

American military officials have described the battle for control of Baghdad as a steady stream of individual killings of Sunnis carried out by Shiite death squads, punctuated by bombings and larger attacks carried out by Sunni insurgents or Al Qaeda members against Shiites.

– From the "truth hurts" department.  Nobody likes you, George.  Better spend quality time with Barney: 

Poll: 7 Out of 10 Americans Disapprove of Handling of Iraq War

By Jon Cohen
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, December 12, 2006; 7:04 AM

Negative assessments of the war in Iraq — the central issue in last month's midterm election — continue to hold down President Bush's job approval ratings and could cast a pall on the final two years of his presidency.

In a new Post-ABC News poll, seven in 10 Americans disapprove of the way the President is handling the situation in Iraq — the highest percentage since the March 2003 invasion. Six in 10 say the war was not worth fighting.

While both gauges on the war have been steadily negative since late 2004, Bush's approval rating on Iraq has deteriorated further since early October, likely weakened by recent high-profile criticisms of the administration's Iraq policy.

The bleak appraisals of the war include the release last week of the much-anticipated report from the Iraq Study Group, a bipartisan government advisory panel, which described conditions in Iraq as "grave and deteriorating."

TPM Muckracker reports Dems will be cutting pork.  Let's hope it sticks.  Save the swine!  My God, won't someone think of the hogs? The same link reports rumors Pelosi will assign Louisiana Democrat Jefferson to an invisible committee, or something.  May as well.  He won't finish his term, what with the indictments coming.

Glenn Greenwald parses the parting love letter to mass murdering dictator Augusto Pinochet in the Washington Post.  What is with the Post's girly mancrushes on dictators, old and aspiring? A Spanish judge wants to see Pinochet prosecuted even now, after his death.

– Bonddad and his friends have a new economics blog.  Wonky, but good stuff.  Please check them out.  Today they look at the new US deficit numbers:  what do they mean? 

– The shame of the planet in Darfur continues.  Kofi Annan is still calling for action from the UN Security Council, but nothing seems to be happening.  Speaking of the UN, it chickened out on standing up for the human rights of indigenous people.  Is Mel Gibson our new UN Ambassador?

– There's some interesting new survey data out about latinos living in the US.  As I've mentioned before, latino voices are often left out of the debate about issues here in the States that affect their lives.  Check this out

– The net neutrality fight is very much alive and has moved to the states.  We cannot sleep.  Now in the crosshairs:  Michigan.  Governer Granholm needs to hear from you if you live in Michigan, like, NOW.  Check out Matt Stoller for details

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Pachacutec

Pachacutec

Pachacutec did not, as is commonly believed, die in 1471. To escape the tragic sight of his successors screwing up the Inca Empire he’d built, he fled east into the Amazon rain forest, where he began chewing lots of funky roots to get higher than Hunter Thompson ever dared. Oddly, these roots gave him not only a killer buzz, but also prolonged his life beyond what any other mortal has known, excluding Novakula. Whatever his doubts of the utility of living long enough to see old friends pop up in museums as mummies, or witness the bizarrely compelling spectacle of Katherine Harris, he’s learned a thing or two along the way. For one thing, he’s learned the importance of not letting morons run a country, having watched the Inca Empire suffer many civil wars requiring the eventual ruler to gain support from the priests and the national military. He now works during fleeting sober moments to build a vibrant progressive movement sufficiently strong and sustainable to drive a pointed stake through the heart of American “conservatism” forever. He enjoys a gay marriage, classic jazz and roots for the New York Mets.

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