Happy Halloween!

I am heading off to a massive costume party, so there probably will be no more posting until late tomorrow (after the football game). Hope every one has a good and safe Halloween.

Oh, yeah- I am going with a few friends as Da Bears fans from Saturday Night Live.








Oh- That Quagmire

THis is more bad news for those whose hope of election next year are pinned to portraying Iraq as a miserable failure:

lessening the risk of being hit by shoulder-fired missiles. The war-blasted facility is back in full working order, and half a dozen big airlines have been licensed to use it. But the terror threat remains too pressing to admit anything but these costly charter flights, underwritten by the American government, from Amman, neighbouring Jordan’s capital.

To the motley bunch of aid workers, reporters and spies on board, the flights would give travel to Iraq a semblance of the ordinary, were it not for the sharp approach angle and the greeting party of grim, gun-toting ex-Ghurkas at Baghdad’s near-deserted terminal. Similarly, life in the country, for most of its citizens, would be approaching normal patterns, were it not for uncertainty about the future, anxiety over crime and violence, and the heavy footfall of foreign soldiers.

For many Iraqis, living standards have already risen a lot. Boosted by government make-work programmes, day labourers are getting double their pre-war wages. A university dean’s pay has gone up fourfold, a policeman’s by a factor of ten.

Before the war, Kifah Karim, a teacher at a Baghdad primary school, took home monthly pay equivalent to just $6. Her husband earned $13 as a factory overseer. Today, with a combined income of close to $450, they no longer rely on gifts of meat from Mrs Karim’s brother, a butcher, to buttress a diet dominated by government food rations. They buy 2-3 kilos of meat a week, and have recently purchased a new fridge, a television, a TV satellite dish, a VCR and a CD player.

You can hear the ANSWER crowd screaming- look at all that blatant consumer consumption! Here is the money quote:

It is proving much harder than the Americans expected, but the rebuilding of a shattered country is still going steadily ahead.

Bingo.

(via RealPolitik)








Democracy In Iran

Here is a nice little flash you should check out.








WTF?

This is the dumbest thing I have ever heard of- Donald Luskin is threatening to sue Atrios. I think Paul Krugman is a DNC party hack, a cretin and a general creep, so I like Luskin’s work following his every move. But threaening to su Atrios is idiotic to the Nth degree.

Grow up.








More Good Economic News

More bad news for the Democrat candidates:

The economy grew at a blistering 7.2 percent annual rate in the third quarter in the strongest pace in nearly two decades. Consumers spent with abandon and businesses ramped up investment, compelling new evidence of an economic resurgence.

The increase in gross domestic product, the broadest measure of the economy’s performance, in the July-September quarter was more than double the 3.3 percent rate registered in the second quarter, the Commerce Department reported Thursday.

The 7.2 percent pace marked the best showing since the first quarter of 1984. It exceeded analysts’ forecasts for a 6 percent growth rate for third-quarter GDP, which measures the value of all goods and services produced within the United States.

“This is a gangbuster number. Everything came together for the economy in the third quarter,” said Mark Zandi, chief economist at Economy.com. “The key challenge now is jobs,” he said.

Drudge is calling it the ‘Bush Boom.’








Blog Troubles

Not sure what is going on, but I hope to have this fixed soon. Not that you can even read this, anyway.








Hog Wild in the Middle East

An interesting proposal:

An organisation in Israel has gained rabbinical approval to train pigs to guard Jewish settlements in the West Bank.
Until now, Jewish settlements have been guarded by men with guns and also by guard dogs.

But a new idea – guard pigs – has been thought up by an organisation called The Hebrew Battalion.

The man in charge, Kuti Ben-Yaakov, insists it is a serious proposal.

“Pigs’ sense of smell is far more developed than that of dogs,” he said.

“The pigs will also be able to identify weapons from huge distances, and walk in the direction of the terrorist, thereby pointing him out.

“Moreover, this animal is considered to be dangerous by Islam and, according to the Muslim faith, a terrorist who touches a pig is not eligible for the 70 virgins in heaven.”

Pork- the other white meat.