Saturday, August 25, 2007

Bits and Pieces on Saturday

(pic from the San Juan river)

Here's a few things I'm reading on this fine Saturday.

Kevin Drum ( has a simple graphic that simplifies the results of the "surge" in Iraq.

Violence Metrics




Iraqi Military and Police Killed



Up 23%

Multiple Fatality Bombings



Down 25%

# Killed in Mult. Fatality Bombings



Up 19%

Iraqi Civilians Killed
(All violent causes)



Hard to say1

U.S. Troop Fatalities



Up 80%

U.S. Troops Wounded



Up 45%

Size of Insurgency



Up ~250%

Attacks on Oil and Gas Pipelines



Up 75%

1Methodology changed dramatically between 2006 and 2007, so numbers are highly suspect.
2Number is for March 2007.
3Numbers are for June only. No July numbers are available.

Infrastructure Metrics




Diesel Fuel Available

26.7 Ml

20.7 Ml

Down 22%

Kerosene Available

7.08 Ml

6.3 Ml

Down 11%

Gasoline Available

29.4 Ml

22.2 Ml

Down 24%

LPG Available

4,936 tons

4,932 tons

Down 0.1%

Electricity Generated

8,800 Mwatts

8,420 Mwatts

Down 4%

Hours Electricity Per Day



Down ~14%

4No numbers available for June/July. Figure is extrapolated from May and August numbers.

But the upcoming reports will all be about "progress". The "facts" are liberal defeatism.

Another factor in the whole Iraq disaster has been the profiteering of corporations in Iraq. Rolling Stone digs in.

Operation Iraqi Freedom, it turns out, was never a war against Saddam ­Hussein's Iraq. It was an invasion of the federal budget, and no occupying force in history has ever been this efficient. George W. Bush's war in the Mesopotamian desert was an experiment of sorts, a crude first take at his vision of a fully privatized American government. In Iraq the lines between essential government services and for-profit enterprises have been blurred to the point of absurdity -- to the point where wounded soldiers have to pay retail prices for fresh underwear, where modern-day chattel are imported from the Third World at slave wages to peel the potatoes we once assigned to grunts in KP, where private companies are guaranteed huge profits no matter how badly they fuck things up.

As is often said "read the whole thing". It's truly a criminal enterprise, but I doubt that very many of the guilty will ever see jail time.

One of the most often used antiwar slogans is "no blood for oil", but now we see "oil for blood":

Spouses of deployed or wounded military members can apply for a free oil change through Dec. 31, donated by Chevron Products Co. in conjunction with Operation Homefront.

The company is donating 1,000 free oil changes featuring its new “Havoline with Deposit Shield” motor oil, including lube and filter, at participating Texaco Xpress Lube locations. Military families in financial need can apply through one of Operation Homefront’s 31 local chapters, or online at Operation Homefront.

Found via badtux the snarky penguin, one of the finest bloggers out there.

On the local front, the race is on to replace "Mr. Corruption" Rick Renzi. Looks like the field may get crowded:

Up until Rep. Rick Renzi’s formal announcement Thursday that he wasn’t seeking re-election in the 1st Congressional District, only Democrats were willing to formally express their intent to run. Here’s a list of who has announced their intent to run or expressed their interest in representing the sprawling rural district:


ANN KIRKPATRICK — The two-term state representative from Flagstaff resigned her legislative seat July 24 to run for CD-1.

HOWARD SHANKER — The Flagstaff attorney, who specializes in environmental issues, represents the Navajo Nation, White Mountain Apache, Yavapai-Apache, the Havasupai Tribe and others in the litigation over the use of reclaimed wastewater at Arizona Snowbowl.

MARY KIM TITLA — The former TV reporter now is publisher of the online Native Youth Magazine.

STEVE OWENS — No formal announcement from the current director of the Arizona
Department of Environmental Quality, but he has said in the past he would consider it.


KRIS MAYES — The former reporter and press secretary for Gov. Janet Napolitano was appointed to the Arizona Corporation Commission in 2003 by Napolitano to replace ousted commissioner Jim Irvin. The Prescott native has been re-elected twice since then, mostly recently in 2006.

KEN BENNETT — The former state senate president hails from Prescott, a key Republican stronghold in Yavapai County. Term limits prevented him from seeking re-election to the state senate.

BILL KONOPNICKI — A state lawmaker from Safford expressed an interest in running for the 1st Congressional District seat, but has yet to form an exploratory committee.


Winslow Mayor Allen Affedlt, a Democrat; Republican state Sen. Tom O’Halleran of Sedona; Republican; and Prescott-area rancher Steve Pierce, also a Republican.

While I haven't completely made up my mind on who I'll volunteer for, the more I've gotten to know Howard Shanker (, the more I'm liking him. This district could easily be turned Democratic, despite trending Republican in the past. One of the key swing groups are the Native American tribes, who tend Dem. but went for Renzi the past 3 elections (Renzi was good at promising them pork). One challenge to any campaign is the huge size of AZ-01. Here's a map:

And on a side note, you may have noticed that I don't post videos. The simple reason is that I rarely watch videos. There are plenty of blogs with great video clips, but I mostly find them annoying. My co-bloggers have posted videos a couple of times, and are more than welcome to continue to do so. Just don't expect any from me.

Enjoy your Saturday.

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