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Afghanistan: Kabul shrine attacks 'kills 34'
Today's Headlines
Headline Comments [Views]
Page 4: Opinion
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Page 6: Politix
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-Short Attention Span Theater-
Atheist Captain In Iraq Has A Point
Captain Jason Torpy about the incident he described, which he said occurred in Iraq when he was with the Army's 1st Armored Division.

Going on a military mission, for example, we were getting ready to roll out. And ‘Everybody come in.’ So as the commander of this convoy (said), ‘Everybody come in and we’re going to do a prayer first together.’ We’re not going to talk about communications, we’re not going to talk about route planning, we’re not going to talk about first aid, we’re not going to talk about maintenance.

So I had to opt myself out of that situation, to ‘out’ myself because this commander took it upon himself to have a personal religious activity in the midst of a military mission.

Well, as a captain, there’s a lot fewer people that can tell me what to do. Now the person that was in command was a major so I was still stepping outside – he was extremely unhappy about it. He said. “Why are you creating trouble?” And I said, “Why are you creating trouble? Why are you excluding me from this activity? This is a military mission, and I support your right to pray, but right this second we have a military mission, and for to use your power to pull everyone in to do a Christian prayer is wrong.”

Well, it was the assumption on the part of the military officer that was in charge of me for that time that everybody was Christian and this his role as the commander--he could use his power to impose his personal religion on the unit.

I was being excluded from the team; put in a bad position that made it more difficult to be a part of that military team--he was putting that religious wedge, which was bad for the team in general. So he was sort of dishonoring his military command which was putting a wedge in the team, and for the purpose of that mission, he was distracting from the main point at a critical time.

He reiterated that there were “a lot of things we could have been doing at the time” besides prayer.

There’s a lot better time that people can engage in prayer--and at that particular point, emphasizing the purposes of the mission, the preparation for the mission and the important focuses to ensure the success of that mission from a military perspective--from a command perspective--is what he should have been doing. And he chose instead to put his personal religious practices.
I believe the Captain was correct as far as this goes, but he also made some unsubstantiated and debatable arguments about religious exclusion and the purposes of military Chaplains.
Posted by: Anonymoose || 12/06/2011 15:24 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [438 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Religion in the military has long been a tricky subject, and like politics, not something to get too gleeful about during business hours.
Posted by: Anonymoose || 12/06/2011 15:53 Comments || Top||

#2  "Why are you creating trouble?"

His reply should have been - If I wanted to make trouble I'd file an Article 138 complaint to end both our careers.
Posted by: Procopius2k || 12/06/2011 16:20 Comments || Top||

#3  He could have considered the event a pre-game chant by the team instead of being a prima donna.
Posted by: Chineger Spimp7684 || 12/06/2011 16:57 Comments || Top||

#4  "What we need is a good Satanist. No Satanist in this battalion."
Posted by: g(r)omgoru || 12/06/2011 17:07 Comments || Top||

#5  Freedom of religion includes freedom from religion. If the maj wants to proselytize, he can do it some other time.
Any commander who thinks his troops have gone through the plan enough times that he can change the subject needs to be looked at very carefully.
Remember that old military maxim, "God helps those who memorize the plan."
Maybe the maj should be off in a corner someplace praying he hasn't left anything out and that he won't screw up. I expect the rest of the guys would approve of that.
Posted by: Richard Aubrey || 12/06/2011 20:30 Comments || Top||

#6  He could have considered the event a pre-game chant by the team instead of being a prima donna.

If I recall correctly, Chineger Spimp7684, about 71% of Americans label themselves as Christians of one sort or another. That suggests that if the unit contained ten people, three of them likely were not Christian...and the rest of the unit would have had an idea which ones, even if the major was oblivious. Activities which divide the group into us and them reduce its effectiveness, particularly unwise at the start of a mission.

Also, pre-game chants focus on the team, like "Yaaaaaaay Team!" or "We are the Raiders, the mighty mighty Raiders/ Everywhere we go-o, people want to kno-ow, etc."
Posted by: trailing wife || 12/06/2011 23:47 Comments || Top||

Africa North
Keep the ICC out of Libya
By John Bolton
Posted by: ryuge || 12/06/2011 05:47 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [309 views] Top|| File under:

The Cycle Continues in California
Posted by: GolfBravoUSMC || 12/06/2011 15:19 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [316 views] Top|| File under:

#1  I heard this song on the radio today and knew that things don't really change:
"Ball of Confusion" by the Temptations 1970:

Air pollution, revolution, gun control,
Sound of soul
Shootin' rockets to the moon
Kids growin' up too soon
Politicians say more taxes will
Solve everything
And the band played on...
Posted by: Anguper Hupomosing9418 || 12/06/2011 18:43 Comments || Top||

The monster and the sausages
h/t No Passaran
Germany's President Horst Koehler has denounced the world financial market as a "monster" using "highly complex financial instruments" to make "massive leveraged investments with minimal capital". Koehler, formerly head of the International Monetary Fund, seems perplexed about the causes of the present crisis, but I can explain them in a way any German can understand. Derivatives are like sausages. You take the low-quality parts of the pig that you don't want to look at while you are eating them, and grind them up into a package that seems more appetizing.

The German financial system wanted to consume low-quality American assets, but did not want to look on what it was eating. German banks have written down about US$25 billion in securities derived from low-quality ("subprime") American mortgages, and doubtless will lose a great deal more. But it is silly to blame the sausage-grinder. Why didn't the Germans and all the other overseas investors buy mortgages in their own countries, instead of scraping the bottom of the credit barrel in the United States? It is because there aren't enough Germans, or Italians, or Frenchmen or Japanese starting families and buying homes. There weren't enough Americans, either, and therein lies a tale.

The aging pensioners of Europe and Asia must find young people to pay interest into their pensions, and they do not have enough young people at home. Germans aged 15 to 24, on the threshold of family formation, comprise only 12% of the country's population today and will fall to only 8% by 2030. But one-fifth of Germans now are on the threshold of retirement and half will be there by mid-century.

...The monster is not the financial system, crooked and stupid as it may have been. The monster is the burgeoning horde of pensioners in Germany and other industrial countries. It is easy to change the financial system. The central banks can assemble on any Tuesday morning and announce tougher lending standards. But it is impossible to fix the financial problems that arise from Europe's senescence. Thanks to the one-child policy, moreover, China has a relatively young population that is aging faster than any other, and China's appetite for savings vastly exceeds what its own financial market can offer.

There is nothing complicated about finance. It is based on old people lending to young people. Young people invest in homes and businesses; aging people save to acquire assets on which to retire. The new generation supports the old one, and retirement systems simply apportion rights to income between the generations. Never before in human history, though, has a new generation simply failed to appear.

As the above chart makes clear, America's population profile is far more benign than Germany's, but it is aging nonetheless. There simply aren't enough young people in America to borrow money from Europe's and Japan's aging savers.

The world kept shipping capital to the United States over the past 10 years, however, because it had nowhere else to go. The financial markets, in turn, found ways to persuade Americans to borrow more and more money. If there weren't enough young Americans to borrow money on a sound basis, the banks arranged for a smaller number of Americans to borrow more money on an unsound basis. That is why subprime, interest-only, no-money-down and other mortgages waxed great in bank portfolios.
Posted by: g(r)omgoru || 12/06/2011 02:54 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [286 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Never before in human history, though, has a new generation simply failed to appear.

Yah. it was aborted.
Posted by: Ptah || 12/06/2011 4:29 Comments || Top||

#2  Well you wouldn't want more yucky people eating noble plants or poor animals while exhaling that toxic carbon dioxide stuff, would you?
Posted by: Scooter McGruder || 12/06/2011 4:40 Comments || Top||

#3  Nature abhors a vacuum. Another tribe will move in and take over. Like in California.
Posted by: Eohippus Phater7165 || 12/06/2011 5:51 Comments || Top||

#4  Never before in human history, though, has a new generation simply failed to appear.

It didn't "simply fail to show up". Uncoupled (!) from religion and given access to jobs via affirmative action and relieved of any negative consequences for unplanned pregnacies by politicians who championed birth control and casual abortion and unquestioning welfare and man's fault divorce, women have been free to act upon more primitive, uncivilized hypergamous hard wiring and upon simple human greed. Screw around until you're not that good looking any more, then find some sap to have one or two designer kids, then divorce the husband and take his stuff and get back to screwing around.

And unscrupulous men have gone right along.

Whichever nation finds a way to make every woman who is fertile enough to do so desire to (and actually have) three or more children in a stable family - and in a culture which values families instead of the apparatus of state - will inherit the world.

Sexist? Nah. Realist.
Posted by: no mo uro || 12/06/2011 6:09 Comments || Top||

#5  Whichever nation finds a way to make every woman who is fertile enough to do so desire to (and actually have) three or more children in a stable family - and in a culture which values families instead of the apparatus of state - will inherit the world.

Posted by: g(r)omgoru || 12/06/2011 6:12 Comments || Top||

#6  no mo uro, "Kinder, Küche, Kirche" has been advanced before to solve massive economic issues that placed a strain on a nation.

Caused quite a bit of trouble for others before it was defeated, as I recall.
Posted by: lotp || 12/06/2011 6:27 Comments || Top||

#7  Kaiser, Krieg, Kanonen was more the problem for men, although the feminine role of Kinder, Kuche, Kitche (und Kleider)were associated with the Nazis.

Not that I intend to correct the Professor! I merely recite from Wikipedia.
Posted by: Bobby || 12/06/2011 6:59 Comments || Top||

#8  wiki says that the 3k's were not 3rd Reich, but belonged to the previous generation. in any case, it was the "Kaiser, Krieg, Kanonen" that really caused the problems IMO
Posted by: abu do you love || 12/06/2011 7:21 Comments || Top||

#9  Never before in human history, though, has a new generation simply failed to appear.

Au contraire, the Romans suffered a population drop as a result of new diseases, and were unable to keep out the barbarian hordes.

The Byzantines suffered a similar drop in population and the Arabs moved right in. One of the reasons the Muslim conquest was so rapid, is there was actually very little fighting.
Posted by: Frozen Al || 12/06/2011 10:36 Comments || Top||

#10  G. Summers said " the situation in Europe is a solvency Crisis, not a liquidity Crisis". I don't agree with some observations but the derivative idea is great. People who can't afford to retire will work till they drop. Those who have retired will continue to work part time to keep their incomes from dropping or due with less then much less. Then some family may require help. Retirements could all be gone in a flash with a economic tsunami anyway. When you retire these days you must stay in the game.
Posted by: Dale || 12/06/2011 10:42 Comments || Top||

#11  The monster IS the financial system, the US financial system of fraud and misrepresentation AND the welfare state in Europe.

Oh yes, the rampant materialism and mass abortion of a new generation.

We're getting there but we're about 5 years away from it.
Posted by: Bill Clinton || 12/06/2011 13:01 Comments || Top||

#12  It's got nothing to do with abortion and everything to do with transfer taxation (to fund the "welfare" state).

Basically transfer taxation harms money velocity (wealth creation), we can simulate wealth creation with increases in debt, until it needs to be paid back (when the opposite happens), if you want to keep simulating wealth creation then you need an exponential amount of debt.

How does a state do that? Easy! Just lower reserves.

What happens when the interest rate gets lower than the lending risk? Systematic bankruptcy combined with an economy not only facing the REAL level of hampered wealth creation but also having to pay of vast sums in interest.
Posted by: Bright Pebbles || 12/06/2011 13:10 Comments || Top||

#13  Greek Bank Run is progress.

This will make things much more difficult to manage. Just like putting money into gold. It does nothing. Money out of circulation.
They still find gold buried from when Rome disintegrated. This is important to watch because the world is tied to this and its people will react in similar fashion. So how will governments deal with this.
Posted by: Dale || 12/06/2011 13:11 Comments || Top||

#14  So, I guess anyone who points out demographic realities is a proven Nazi, in your eyes?

Didn't take long for Mr. Godwin to show up.

So then, what is your solution to the problem?
Posted by: no mo uro || 12/06/2011 14:43 Comments || Top||

#15  No mo, it's not the demographics point that invited Godwin, but your quip about hypergamy and its detrimental nature on the society if unchecked. lotp is after all a part time feminist (she may claim otherwise, but watch what they do, not what they say).

I appreciate that you see the things in more fundamental light. I do interject the topic in my posts on the net, but for the most part, people think I speak alien.
Posted by: twobyfour || 12/06/2011 18:11 Comments || Top||

Home Front: Politix
The Thrill is Gone
If our fashion-conscious president still finds the time to read the lad-mags, December's GQ had to hurt. Obama made the magazine's list of "The 25 Least Influential People Alive".

Obama "should be the most transformational figure of the century," GQ carped, "Instead, he wields all the power of a substitute teacher at night school."

The "thrill up my leg" is gone for MSNBC's Chris Matthews. Obama has "the worst kind of a notion of the presidency," the Hardball host railed recently: "Why are we in this fight with him? Just tell us, commander, give us our orders and tell us where we're going, give us the mission."
Command me, mein Frueher!
Sigh. Where to begin? It's absurd to complain that Obama - who can launch wars without congressional approval and assassinate American citizens via drone strike, a man who sits atop an executive branch of 2.1 million civilian employees claiming authority over everything from how much salt we ingest to what sort of light bulbs we're permitted to use - is powerless.
Powerless? No. Useless, sure!
And it's utterly perverse for anyone - let alone a journalist - to address a politician as "commander" and beg him for marching orders.
Chris? He means you. Utterly perverse.
Obama's current difficulties were entirely predictable, however. It isn't just that he's been a terrible president, it's that no earthly figure could deliver the miracles he promised: among other things, "a complete transformation of the economy, "care for the sick and good jobs to the jobless," to "end the age of oil in our time," begin to heal the very planet and, perhaps most unrealistically, "fundamentally change the way Washington works."
I think nearly everyone at Rantburg predicted the "entirely predictable."
Like they say, though, it couldn't happen to a nicer guy. Since Obama has stoked irrational public expectations for presidential salvation in virtually every public policy area, it's hard to feel sorry for him.

Yet some folks manage the feat. That's apparent from an article called, "The Carterization of Barack Obama" in the new issue of Esquire. (Some guys peruse the lad-mags for the racy pictures; I read them for the articles).

In it, Charles P. Pierce argues that: "The problem with redemptive presidents is that, invariably, they call upon the country to be as good and decent a place as they described when they were running. They ask for sacrifice, for putting " aside party for the national good."

Alas, "They then discover that the country isn't as good or decent as they had been saying it was .... The redemptive president is caught then," Pierce said.
Especially when such a call is a cover for The Chicago Way.
Obama's problems are all our fault, you see. If only we were good enough to deserve him!

Actually, the problem with "redemptive presidents" is that when they fail to deliver national redemption, they invariably demand more power for the task. Thus, it's not surprising that Obama is now invoking Teddy Roosevelt's "New Nationalism" as part of his re-election strategy. Roosevelt had nothing but contempt for limits on presidential power, and issued more executive orders than any president before or since.
Obumble can still catch up, however.
The Framers' envisioned a modest constitutional "chief magistrate," who would secure the rule of law, not overturn it. But decades of longing for a national redeemer have turned the presidency into a constitutional abomination: an office that promises everything and guarantees nothing, save public frustration and the steady growth of federal power.

The quest for "transformational figures" and "redemptive presidents" reflects a dangerous, adolescent view of the presidency. If only it were limited to the lad-mags.
Instead of the dupes and dopes.
Posted by: Bobby || 12/06/2011 06:28 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [337 views] Top|| File under:

#1  But the tingle lingers; like herpes.
Posted by: Eohippus Phater7165 || 12/06/2011 9:16 Comments || Top||

#2  The only "Tingle" Up MY leg is urime, not mine, his.
And I was told BY the POTUS,"It's raining", Bullshit.
Posted by: Redneck Jim || 12/06/2011 9:50 Comments || Top||

#3  Yes, for many the thrill is gone and their getting out as fast as they can.

Where's all that money going to come from?. I remember of the fortune 500 only 200 were were current on their funding of retirement plans.
Posted by: Dale || 12/06/2011 10:17 Comments || Top||

#4  It isn't just that he's been a terrible president, it's that no earthly figure could deliver the miracles he promised: among other things, "a complete transformation of the economy, "care for the sick and good jobs to the jobless," to "end the age of oil in our time," begin to heal the very planet and, perhaps most unrealistically, "fundamentally change the way Washington works."

For which one can blame David Axelrod. He basically used his proven urban/minority-targeted 'Secular Preacher' campaign tactic. It worked, for various reasons too lengthy to include here.

The problem for Mr. Obama is that there's a much larger, nation-wide group of voter-buyers that expected the 'product' to be delivered.
Posted by: Pappy || 12/06/2011 12:14 Comments || Top||

Home Front: Culture Wars
NAACP Goes To UN To Demand Felon And ID-less Voting In US
The largest civil rights group in America, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), is petitioning the UN over what it sees as a concerted efforted to disenfranchise black and Latino voters ahead of next year's presidential election.

The organisation will this week present evidence to the UN high commissioner on human rights of what it contends is a conscious attempt to "block the vote" on the part of state legislatures across the US. Next March the NAACP will send a delegation of legal experts to Geneva to enlist the support of the UN human rights council.

The NAACP contends that the America in the throes of a consciously conceived and orchestrated move to strip black and other ethnic minority groups of the right to vote. William Barber, a member of the association's national board, said it was the "most vicious, co-ordinated and sinister attack to narrow participation in our democracy since the early 20th century".
Posted by: Anonymoose || 12/06/2011 08:17 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [456 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Richardson v. Ramirez, 418 U.S. 24 (1974), held that convicted felons could be barred from voting without violating the Fourteenth Amendment.
Posted by: Anonymoose || 12/06/2011 8:22 Comments || Top||

#2  Crawford v. Marion County Election Board, 553 U.S. 181 (2008) was a United States Supreme Court case holding that an Indiana law requiring voters to provide photo IDs did not violate the Constitution of the United States.
Posted by: Anonymoose || 12/06/2011 8:25 Comments || Top||

#3  Ah, but those cases did not address the issue of race!

But I see they decided they couldn't get a fair hearing in this country, so they took their case to the magisterial United Nations.

Last time I voted, I was asked to have a picture ID. But I am not a person of color. But all the people looking at my ID were!
Posted by: Bobby || 12/06/2011 8:39 Comments || Top||

#4  Clean thy own house.

Posted by: Procopius2k || 12/06/2011 8:46 Comments || Top||

#5  This is outrageous on so many levels. First, it is outrageous that any organization in the U.S. would petition a failed, corrupt organization that sucks up our taxpayer's money. Second, It is outrageous that the NAACP would petition to allow people to vote without presenting any form of ID. Apparently, they want voter fraud on a huge scale. Not only NO, but HELL NO.
Posted by: JohnQC || 12/06/2011 10:05 Comments || Top||

#6  Presenting no form of ID and the fraud that would ensue would disenfranchise other legitimate voters.
Posted by: JohnQC || 12/06/2011 10:07 Comments || Top||

#7  The war to allow vote fraud has been flaring for years now. EJDionne of the WaPo editorialized that voter ID laws are vote suppressing. The Sec of State of GA, responded that the number of blacks voting increased substantially from 2004 to 2008 (by over 100%) and from 2006 to 2010 (by about 20 40%) notwithstanding the 2005 voter ID law in GA.
Then the pro vote fraud people countered by finding a state (NC) where the 2006 to 2010 black vote increased more than in GA.

It will be a long battle.
Posted by: Lord Garth || 12/06/2011 10:52 Comments || Top||

#8  bank on DEMOCRATS getting behind this.
Posted by: newc || 12/06/2011 11:02 Comments || Top||

#9  I don't think letting felons vote again is such a bad idea. I wouldn't let them vote while doing time but I would return that right after they paid their dues to society - let them try to be a citizen again.
Posted by: Yosemite Sam || 12/06/2011 11:23 Comments || Top||

#10  We are watching the fall of the United States of America. A congress divided, outside political organizations influencing our laws, total disregard for the constitution by the president, the supreme court as a political tool, government funded agitators (ACORN), media involvement and mandates to influence, etc etc... There are only a few ways to recover, Civil war, a wave of nationalism, or separation of the states from the federal government. We as a nation are standing at the abyss. UGGGG
Posted by: 49 Pan || 12/06/2011 11:28 Comments || Top||

#11  Yosemite Sam: There are two primary reasons for disenfranchising felons from voting.

The first, and most important, is that felons are a willing and able group of thugs to corrupt the voting process through *illegal* means, such as tampering, voter intimidation, and every other *illegal* dirty political stunt imaginable. And they have been used for these purposes before.

Remember also that the same people advocating the felon vote want to strip workers from even having the right to an Australian (secret) ballot in union elections. So "fairness" is not an issue, political power is the issue.

The second reason to deny felons the vote is the distinction of misdemeanor and felony crime. Traditionally, felony crimes were punishable either by death or confiscation of all properties, in that a criminal had committed an irrevocable and destructive act against others or the state.

In many cases, felons were branded so they could easily be recognized by others and shunned as harmful and dangerous people. There was no chance for redemption outside of the very rare pardon.

America, however, has sort of gone hog wild with creating new laws, so truly petty offenses are now treated as felonies.

However, this is why we have judges. After a convict has served their sentence, they may appeal to the court for restoration of their lost liberties.

Mostly they want guns, and judges are very lenient for non-violent offenders in restoring their gun rights. Second is they want their record expunged at the state level, for reasons of employment. Expungement incorporates the third most requested restoration, voting rights, which can be made independently of expungement, if the judge refuses.

However, this is not what the advocates of felon enfranchisement want. They want voting rights for those felons that judges would *not* restore, either because they are heinous and/or repeat offenders, or because their crimes are political in nature.

That is going back to the first reason.
Posted by: Anonymoose || 12/06/2011 12:32 Comments || Top||

#12  First of all they are making the statement that such things as Voter Id disenfranchises Black and Latino votes. Note that they did not say 'legal' voters - but *any* voters - illegals, Imaginary, Duplicate, and Felons.

And going to the U.N. Human Rights Commission? That is made up of some of the worst Human Rights Violators on the planet?
Posted by: CrazyFool || 12/06/2011 12:48 Comments || Top||

#13  Felons can restore their rights and vote. It is not unreasonable to ask a person for ID at the polls. Otherwise you don't know if they are legitimate voters; they could be illegal aliens or felons who have not restored their rights or they might not be of age.
Posted by: JohnQC || 12/06/2011 17:01 Comments || Top||

#14  I can see why the NAACP would go to the UN over voter ID, now that the more important (at least to the NAACP, I'm sure) issue of slavery around the world - particularly in Africa and the Arab countries - has been completely banned and stopped by the UN.

After all, now that there are no longer people being sold and held in slavery anywhere in the world, the NAACP can turn to slightly less important issues.

Oh, wait....
Posted by: Barbara || 12/06/2011 17:53 Comments || Top||

#15  The UN can let them vote in the UN elections.

...Oh, never mind...
Posted by: BrerRabbit || 12/06/2011 18:12 Comments || Top||

#16  Also, don't allow those EVIL Republicans to disenfranchise the dead.
Posted by: Cincinnatus Chili || 12/06/2011 19:00 Comments || Top||

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Meet the Mods
In no particular order...
Steve White
Scooter McGruder
john frum
Bright Pebbles
trailing wife
Frank G
Alaska Paul

Two weeks of WOT
Tue 2011-12-06
  Afghanistan: Kabul shrine attacks 'kills 34'
Mon 2011-12-05
  France Reduces Tehran Embassy Staff after Attack on British Mission
Sun 2011-12-04
  Iran police arrest 12 over embassy rally
Sat 2011-12-03
  US Hands Over Camp Victory to Iraq
Fri 2011-12-02
  Syria Sanctions Target Assad Brother, 16 Other Senior Figures
Thu 2011-12-01
  UK expels Iran diplomats after embassy attack
Wed 2011-11-30
  Egypt's elections go smoothly amid protests
Tue 2011-11-29
  Iranian brownshirts seize 6 British embassy staff
Mon 2011-11-28
  Enraged Pakistanis burn Obama effigy, slam US
Sun 2011-11-27
  US told to vacate Shamsi base
Sat 2011-11-26
  Pakistan stops NATO supplies after raid kills up to 28
Fri 2011-11-25
  47 Syrians Dead, Including 29 Civilians, as Homs Clashes Rage
Thu 2011-11-24
  Police continue attacks on protesters, Tahrir chants for field marshal to go
Wed 2011-11-23
  Yemen's president signs power transfer deal
Tue 2011-11-22
  Yemen Opposition: Saleh Agrees to Sign Peace Plan. Really.

Better than the average link...

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