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May 03, 2004
On A Monday

Jobs are disappearing. Winn-Dixie, the big, southern grocery chain, is cutting 10,000 in the next 12 months.

Winn-Dixie Stores Inc. plans to close its Louisville distribution center and sell or close its stores in the Louisville, Lexington, Bowling Green and Paducah markets in the next 12 months, according to a release from the company.

That's bad enough, but take a look at this:

Winn-Dixie reported the plans in its third-quarter financial statement, released April 30, which showed the company's net income for the quarter was down 99 percent from the previous year.

Ouch.

Way down south, things may be heating up. "Mexico has recalled its ambassador to Cuba following a blistering May Day speech by President Fidel Castro."

It's possible we'll take our "war on terror[ism]" down there. Because what Latin America really needs is police and military forces running around, ferreting out "enemies of the state."

Turkish security forces say they've uncovered, and stopped, a plot to bomb June's NATO summit. Reportedly, a Bush assassination attempt was in the works.

We could be losing our objectivity. By "we" I mean the Left, because things like this hit me kind of the way all of those foaming-at-the-mouth attacks on Clinton used to sound. At least, I sure as heck hope Greg was just having a bitter day.

Take this, for example:

Harvard law professor Christopher Edley Jr., a member of the Commission on Civil Rights, didn't like the smell of all those spoiled ballots. He dug into the pile of tossed ballots and, deep in the commission's official findings, reported this: 14.4 percent of black votes--one in seven--were "invalidated," i.e., never counted. By contrast, only 1.6 percent of nonblack voters' ballots were spoiled.

Someone tell me how they knew which ballot went with which voter? What happened to the anonymous vote? How can you look at a ballot and know the race of the person who cast the vote?

(All of that aside, we really need to do something about voting and vote counting. We need a less spoiler-inducing ballot form. And I do not mean today's electronic voting options.)

I wouldn't like to think that the sinkhole of overt racism is still lurking beneath the surface of this country's equality.

The idea that police can be too white to fight terror bothers me. Maybe in South Africa, with a recent, bloody history of persecuting minorities, but in the U.K.?

A searchable database of "lies" is launched.

Massachusetts reveals that its been working hard to bring back the death penalty. Notice how we think we can create a 'fool-proof' system for killing someone but not one for educating a child? Priorities, people.

Zimbabwe has a surprise for us. They've decided to extradite those mercenaries they arrested.

I find myself wondering at just what point leadership failure in the armed services opens an officer up to a prison sentence. Having soldiers under your command torturing prisoners doesn't appear to trigger the process. Kind of makes you wonder if there's not something to the idea that it was the intelligence services encouraging the behavior, doesn't it?

And what about this report that some of the torture…excuse me "work" in the prisons might have been outsourced to contractors?

In an attempt to fill the gap between the demand for professional forces and the limited number deployed, an array of traditional military and intelligence roles have been outsourced in Iraq, all without public discussion or debate. There are up to 20,000 private contractors operating in Iraq, carrying out military roles from logistics and local army training to guarding installations and convoys.

Some readers will be familiar with the resultant stories of Halliburton's overbilling scandals and the deaths of British and American private military personnel in battles in Falluja, Najaf and Kut. The industry has been deployed to such an extent that a number of executives have called it the "Iraqi gold mine".

Among the most stunning decisions taken is the handover of the interrogation of prisoners of war to private firms. Employees from the firms Caci and Titan now reportedly fill such roles as interrogators and translators. The work can be quite lucrative.

Torture is a profitable industry? Color me nauseated.

At the same time, one finds oneself wondering about the other detention facilities we're using, but not talking about.

Sudan. Oil. Genocide. How are these connected?

Virtual slavery in the USofA.

And look here. That U.N. "oil for food" scandal is getting complicated. Now someone is "suing the financial sponsors of 9/11" and it's all tied up with the "oil for food" scandal.

Craig Aaron disses David Brooks.

Dominic Dunne deserves what he's getting for his malicious rumor-mongering around the disappearance of Gary Condit intern Chandra Levy.

Nothing can be done about gerrymandering voting districts because, strictly speaking, it isn't against the law. So…now we change the law, right?

Sheesh, that's enough for one day...or at least one entry. I talk too much.

Not long ago, John Kerry defended that infamous (Republicans wish) medal-throwing incident on Good Morning America. Today I've discovered a spoof of the interview and I thought we'd end with a smile.

Posted by AnneZook at 10:10 AM


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