Huffington Post: Whole Communities Hooked On Heroin In Afghanistan

This is very sad…what have we wrought…?

Huffington Post

KABUL, Afghanistan — Drug addicts as young as a month old. Mothers who calm their children by blowing opium smoke in their faces. Whole communities hooked on heroin with few opportunities for treatment.

Use of opiates such as heroin and opium has doubled in Afghanistan in the last five years, the U.N. said Monday, as hundreds of thousands of Afghans turn to drugs to escape the misery of poverty and war.

Nearly 3 percent of Afghans aged 15 to 64 are addicted to opiates, according to a study by the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime. The U.N. defines addicts as regular users.

That puts Afghanistan, along with Russia and Iran, as the top three countries for opiate drug use worldwide, according to Sarah Waller, an official of the U.N.’s drug office in Kabul. She said a 2005 survey found about 1.4 percent of Afghan adults were opiate addicts.

The data suggest that even as the U.S. and its allies pour billions of dollars into programs to try to wean the Afghan economy off of drug money, opium and heroin have become more entrenched in the lives of ordinary Afghans. That creates yet another barrier to international efforts to combat the drug trade, which helps pay for the Taliban insurgency.   Continue reading…

Why Doesn’t the Media Interrogate Tea Partiers’ Beliefs?

This is an interesting concept, thanks Newsweek.

There are only two ways to balance a budget in the red: raising taxes, which Tea Partiers vehemently oppose, and cutting spending. But what spending should be cut? Defense and veterans spending, which accounts for 54 percent of the federal budget? It would be pretty hard to merge that with the Republicans’ foreign-policy-hawk wing. Entitlement spending such as Social Security and Medicare? Good luck winning elections with that platform. Discretionary domestic spending is the favorite target of fiscal conservatives. But when it comes to specifics, suddenly every program seems worthier than when demonized in the collective abstract. Which politician wants to cut spending on Homeland Security? Education for students with special needs? (Surely not Sarah Palin!)


“Concerned Americans trying to find their voices, and a way to channel their disgust,” the AP earnestly reports. “To hear what motivates them is to begin to understand what’s going on in American politics in 2010.” But what if what motivates them is ignorance? A CBS/New York Times poll showed that 44 percent of Tea Partiers believe their taxes have gone up under President Obama, and only 2 percent believed they have gone down, even though, in fact, Obama has cut taxes. Might that be worth bringing to bear? Maybe we should even ask the Tea Partiers whether they are aware of the reality on taxes and if that changes their views?

Continue reading…

Challenging Beck’s Claim That ‘We Don’t Like Soccer,’ Fox’s Van Susteren Asks, ‘Who’s The We?’

As I read this, I have to wonder, is there a silent revolt going on over at Fox News?  O’Reilly and Van Susteren could just be anomalies in their attempts to let “truth” peek out through the muck and mire of  distortion, dishonesty and delusion.  

Let’s see if this effort to find an iota of truth and honesty over at Fox News is in fact a fluke or a pattern.  Or maybe it’s just wishful thinking on my part. 

Since I was a little kid watching the television series “Superman” after school, I’ve always believed in the concept of “truth, justice and the American way”

Fox News is so far off the mark with those ideals, and it’s always been rather disturbing in my view. 

Think Progress 

Since the FIFA World Cup began in South Africa this month, conservatives have seized the opportunity to declare a war on soccer. Fox News’ Glenn Beck has been leading the charge. “I hate it so much, probably because the rest of the world likes it so much, ” he said, adding: 

BECK: It doesn’t matter how you try to sell it to us, it doesn’t matter how many celebrities you get, it doesn’t matter how many bars open early, it doesn’t matter how many beer commercials they run, we don’t want the World Cup, we don’t like the World Cup, we don’t like soccer, we want nothing to do with it. … They continually try to jam it down our throat. 

ABC News asked Sunday’s This Week roundtable guests in its online “Green Room” session about Beck’s rant. Fellow Fox News host Greta Van Susteren jumped in to answer first. “Can I answer that one first since it’s Fox News?” she asked. Van Susteren then gently mocked Beck, rhetorically asking, “Who’s the ‘we’?” 

NPR’s Tell Me More host Michel Martin then took a jab at Beck’s “paranoid rantings”: 

MARTIN: Thank you. But first of all, you’re making me violate my rule to be a Glenn Beck free zone, because I really don’t feel like his paranoid rantings have anything to do with improving my life and I don’t know anything about his personal life but if he has kids, guess what? They’re playing soccer. It’s the most popular youth sport in the country. It is the most popular sport in the world. If he doesn’t want to be part of the rest of the world then go back to his island and stay there. Sorry I’m watching the games. Love it. Sorry. 

“We get into soccer, globalization,” Council on Foreign Relations president Richard Haass said. “Like it or not we are now joining the world and as the United States also becomes more Hispanic we’re going to even get better.”  Watch:

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Kristol: ‘It’s not healthy for the country…for the President to bully’ BP.

Bill Kristol doesn’t have a great track record on predictions or punditry.  He has tried, and tried and tried to tell the world how things will or should be, but Kristol has been wrong on almost everything that he says.   That’s an amazing track record!   

Think Progress

Last week, Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX) apologized to BP CEO Tony Hayward or what he called a “shakedown” from the White House. While even a number of Republicans have distanced themselves from Barton’s comments, today on Fox News Sunday, host Chris Wallace wondered if Barton may have a point. Responding to Wallace, the Weekly Standard’s Bill Kristol appeared to throw out the obligatory attack on BP, calling the oil giant “Beyond Pathetic,” but he nevertheless agreed with Wallace that the White House is being to hard on the company — and big corporations in general:

WALLACE: Question Bill Kristol, is the President standing up to big business or is he bullying boardrooms?

KRISTOL: I think his own Interior Secretary said something about keeping his foot on the throat of BP, which doesn’t sound like standing up to anyone. It sounds like bullying. I have no sympathy for BP. We have an article in the Weekly Standard this week saying that BP should stand for “Beyond Pathetic.” I think it was the least responsible of the Big Oil companies. It has managed to handle itself pretty poorly even since the disaster let alone before. But it’s not healthy for the country, for the economy as a whole, for the President to bully different companies and different industries and I think it’s not helping us.


Crist Widens Lead in Three-Way Senate Race

This is good news for the man who was punished by the GOP for accepting stimulus money from Obama and also for hugging Obama during one of Obama’s campaign trips to Florida.  Charlie Crist was never one of my favorite politicians, but I’m glad that he’s ahead, just to let the GOP know they are not as powerful and all-knowing as they think they are.

Political Wire

A new Florida Chamber of Commerce poll finds Charlie (I) Crist widening his lead over Marco Rubio (R) and Rep. Kendrick Meek (D) in the U.S. Senate race.

While most recent polls show Crist with a small lead, this one has him in front with 42%, followed by Rubio at 31% and Meek at 14%.

New Republican Agenda, Or Lack Of One, Divides Party

Huffington Post

WASHINGTON — It’s not easy crafting an agenda for the fall elections. Just ask Republicans in Congress. They set up a website to solicit ideas, only to see liberals flood it with distinctly un-Republican suggestions. When Republicans invited the public to rank proposals online, critics lampooned the effort for small-bore notions such as ending a federal program for “historic whaling partners.”

Republicans don’t even agree on whether they need a new agenda.

With voters so divided over President Barack Obama’s health care and spending initiatives, some think the GOP needs only a plausible job-creation platform and a staunchly anti-Obama stand on nearly everything else.

Amid the indecision, Democrats keep linking Republican candidates to the last GOP president, George W. Bush. In their view, the absence of a clear-cut GOP agenda for 2010 makes it easier to do that.

At political events, Obama urges people not to give the car keys back to those “who drove us into the ditch” in the first place. The jab partly refers to the pre-2007 days when Republicans controlled Congress as well as the White House. But it’s mostly seen as a reminder of Bush’s policies – involving the economy, Iraq and Hurricane Katrina – that left the Texan deeply unpopular when he left office 17 months ago.    Continue reading…